Tigers Continue Trek To CAA Title
By Simon Habtemariam
In an offensive spectacle, the No. 12 Towson Tigers (8-2, 6-1 CAA) scored an upset against No. 7 New Hampshire (7-3, 5-2 CAA), 56-42.
"Man they're good," Towson coach Rob Ambrose said. "Normally I'm the guy that wants to play as much football as humanly possible. But, I'm really glad there's no more football, because they can't score any more points now."
The second- and third-best scoring teams in the Colonial Athletic Association going into the game, the Tigers and Wildcats combined for 98 points.
"I knew it was going to be a shootout," Ambrose said. "To be honest, we knew we had to be very efficient with the ball, offensively, early, to make sure they couldn't run away with it. They are very explosive and they don't stop."
Freshman sensation Terrance West set the tempo for the game from his first carry.
After the conference's top passer, Kevin Decker, pieced together a scoring drive to open the game, West broke a 72-yard touchdown run three plays later. The nation's leading scorer and reigning CAA Offensive Player of the Week picked up his 22nd touchdown of the year.
West's touchdown was the fourth-longest rush in Tigers' history and the longest this season. Towson's offense has predominantly consisted of long, time-consuming drives. But an offense drawn up by a former Connecticut offensive coordinator proved their home run potential during the next few minutes.
Following a fourth-down stop by the Tigers' defense, Towson quarterback Grant Enders continued the Tigers' homerun derby. The sophomore signal caller connected with sophomore tight end James Oboh for a 56-yard touchdown pass.
On the next drive, freshman defensive back Tye Smith picked off Decker for a 45-yard touchdown return.
Towson scored its first 21 points during a span of three minutes.
The Wildcats took a page out of the Ambrose philosophy and answered with a 10-play, 51-yard drive, capped off with a touchdown pass by Decker.
The Tigers' offense continued to trade blows, with a 73-yard drive, capped off by a West touchdown. The rookie's second score of the day tied the single-season touchdown record at 23, which Tony Vinson previously held.
After forcing New Hampshire's first three-and-out of the game, Towson answered with another scoring drive. Enders threaded a needle with his pass to Oboh for his second touchdown of the game.
The two teams would continue to trade blows into the end of the first half.
After a quick 56-yard scoring drive by the Wildcats, complete with a Kevin Decker rushing touchdown, Towson's most productive offensive player answered with another Towson score.
West broke another long rush, with a 69-yard touchdown rush off a vicious cut back, topped the single-season scoring record with his 24th touchdown of the year.
Sophomore tailback Chris Setian scored to cap New Hampshire's following drive with 2:52 left during the second quarter. After the last score of the half, both teams amassed a combined 70 points, 664 yards and just two punts -- both by New Hampshire.
The scoring clinic would continue early during the second half. Derrick Joseph returned the opening kickoff for a 93-yard touchdown, the Tigers' first kickoff touchdown since 1995.
A score that may have come a little too quickly, after giving the ball back to the Wildcats, they answered 3 minutes later with another Kevin Decker touchdown.
The Tigers, now playing the clock more than their opponents, slowed it down on the next drive. Towson put together a 10-play drive, going 71 yards and, yet again, capped off with a West touchdown.
Towson's defense was finally able to cool down Decker and the UNH offense midway through the third quarter. Comparative to the first half, it wouldn't be hard to say both offenses went cold during the second half. Yet, both teams still scored a combined 28 second-half points.
Towson, now controlling its own destiny, travels to Rhode Island for the season finale and a shot for, at least, a CAA Co-Championship.
"If they don't let us into the playoffs, something is ridiculously wrong in the world," Ambrose said.
The Tiger coach had made a point to keep the postseason out of mind in preparation for Saturday's game.
"Yes, we are going to the playoffs," he said. "Yeah, we're going."
Posted Nov. 12, 2011