Towson Tigers pounce Great Danes
By Aaron Williams
The Great Danes were matched up against the 7th ranked Towson for homecoming weekend but failed to earn their stripes with the Towson Tigers.
The sold out homecoming game held promise at first, with the Danes scoring the first points of the game but tricked by the end with a near empty stadium and 44-17 score in Towson’s favor.
UAlbany (1-7, 0-4) began the game with the ball and made good progress up the field with the help of a roughing the kicker penalty that gave them a new set of downs.
The drive ended with a punt from the Towson 43 that pinned the Tigers deep in their own territory. Towson (7-1, 3-1) began their first drive on their own 14 and, 5 plays later, turned it over on a fumble by Spencer Wilkins, caused by CB Randall Exantus and recovered by OLB Michael Nicastro. This gave the ball back to UAlbany in great field position with a chance to capitalize.
After 3 busted plays, UAlbany was forced to punt. Once again, the Tigers were faced with a long field ahead of them as they began their second drive on their own 11 yard line; 9 plays in to the drive, their QB Peter Athens, was intercepted by Defensive lineman Cory Connell at the Towson 24 which placed the Great Danes in amazing field position to start their 3rd drive.
With just over 3 minutes left in the 1st quarter, WR Jake Meek lined up under center and punched the ball in for a 10 yard rushing touchdown to give UAlbany the early lead. On Towson’s ensuing possession, they were able to march up the field to the Albany 33 however, UAlbany’s defense was able to hold strong and keep Towson to a 50 yard field goal to close out the first quarter.
The second quarter belonged largely to Towson and their run game lead by Terrence West. West began the quarter with 23 rushing yards, and finished the half with 110 and a rushing touchdown but not before Peter Athens’ 38 yard touchdown pass to Spencer Wilkins to give them a 10-7 lead with 10:20 left in the 2nd quarter. UAlbany’s first drive of the second quarter ended in a sack and fumble that resulted in a turnover on downs.
Their second drive did not end any better as QB Will Fiacchi threw in an interception to Towson’s Donnell Lewis who returned it for a 38 yard touchdown with 1:25 left in the second quarter to make it a score of 17-7. Albany’s problems on third down began to show in the closing minutes of the first half as they failed to convert a 3rd and 2 and decided to go for it on 4th and 2 that ended with a turnover on downs. This set up Terrence West for a 59 yard touchdown run that put the Tigers up 24-7 with 6:42 left in the first half. Talking with Coach Bob Ford after the game, he expressed the sentiment that the 2 quick scores “took the wind out of our sails.”
With the quarter coming to a close, ILB Christian Dorsey forced a pivotal fumble and recovered with Towson on the doorstep and, subsequently, set the Great Danes up to drive up the field and narrow the deficit with a 35 yard field goal making the score 24-10 headed into halftime.
With the second half underway, the crowd at Bob Ford Field was buzzing with optimism and looking for a UAlbany comeback. Towson began their first possession of the third quarter on their own 16 and relied heavily on RB Terrence West, as he received the bulk of the offensive touches that drive. West eventually carried the team down the field for his second touchdown of the game to make the score 31-10. UAlbany’s next two drives ended in punts, highlighted by Jojo McClary’s interception on Athen’s throw to a receiver in the endzone that lead to the second punt of the two drives.
Towson’s 3rd drive of the quarter lead to their 5th touchdown of the game on a 7 yard rush by their back-up running back Darius Victor to make the score 38-10. UAlbany was able to get one back on the following drive with a 28 yard touchdown pass from Will Fiacchi to Jameel Gay with a just under 2 minutes left in the 3rd quarter and, after the extra point try, made the score 38-17. The 4th quarter, was a more even game with both teams trading possession. UAlbany continued to struggle on 3rd down and Towson eventually capitalized one last time on a 12 yard run by their 3rd string running back Trea Jones with 54 seconds remaining in the game to increase their lead to 27 (44-17).
Coach Bob Ford has discussed the team’s troubles on 3rd down in past press conferences and this time plainly stated that his team was “horrible” on third down conversions only converting only 2 first downs out of 18 tries. He went on to explain the differences in team speed and pointed out that Towson was a very good team with tremendous depth. The Great Danes have also endured a great amount of injuries to key players such as Running back Omar Osbourne and key lineman and defensive players.
The Great Danes have a small break in play but are gearing up to play against Richmond on Nov. 2 before returning home to play Maine at Bob Ford Field on Nov. 9 at 3:30 pm EST.