Towson's Grant Enders Is Dual-Threat Quarterback
By Simon Habtemariam
Towson University quarterback Grant Enders has accumulated more total offensive yards than all but four players in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Old Mill High alum and Towson's captain, now in his second year at the offense's helm, has played a vital role in the No. 18 Tigers' run to defend their first-ever CAA championship.
During Towson's (3-3, 2-1 CAA) three losses, Enders has thrown four of his six interceptions this season. But his growth as a game manager, as well as his abilities to make plays on his feet, allow Enders to put the offense on his shoulders.
"If you're not growing, you're dying," Towson coach Rob Ambrose said, "and Grant learned a lot about himself as a game manager and as a quarterback."
During some of the Tigers' biggest games this year, Enders has taken off on both designed quarterback draws and scrambles to pick up first downs. While on the road against national power Louisiana State University, Enders led the Tigers in rushing, with 86 yards on 12 attempts. Against the University of Maine on Oct. 13, Enders rushed for 98 yards on eight attempts.
"My quarterbacks coach does a great job in teaching me to go through progressions," Enders said. "When something's not there, I try to look for something down field and then try to make plays with my feet."
Through six games this season, Enders is one of the conference's statistical leaders both on the ground and through the air. The Towson signal caller ranks fifth among CAA quarterbacks with an average of 185 passing yards per game,10th in the league with 53.5 rushing yards per game and fifth among all CAA players with 238.5 yards of total offense per game. Those are impressive feats considering he plays in the same backfield as the program's all-time rushing touchdown leader, sophomore Terrance West.
Although West remains the top rusher on the team, with 533 yards and eight scores, he draws a lot of attention from opposing defenses. A year ago, West shocked the country with his freshman campaign, as he scored 29 touchdowns and earned the Jerry Rice Award as the Football Championship Subdivision's best freshman player. With opposing defenses honing in on West, Enders' playmaking opportunities have opened up.
Towson will need an elite offensive showing heading into this weekend's matchup against No. 7 Old Dominion. The Monarchs not only boast the best statistical offense in the CAA, but the top statistical offensive player in the conference. Sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke has 2,520 passing yards through six games. Even without his 269 rushing yards, that would be enough to lead the conference in total offense.
"How about the word 'wow' with a couple of exclamation points behind it, a pause and some more wow," Ambrose said about Old Dominion. "Offensively, is there a more dynamic team in America? Is there a more dynamic quarterback in America?"
Towson did beat Old Dominion during their first-ever meeting, in 2011. It came down to a fourth-and-29 attempt, and Enders found wide receiver Tom Ryan for a 63-yard touchdown pass.
"It was an interesting course of events," Ambrose said. "Yes, there is truth to the fact that we drew it up in the dirt, and I give credit to the kids for their ability to execute that on a dime. In truth, the goal was to get the first down -- it really wasn't to score a touchdown. It was just a great play by a bunch of kids that wanted to win."
Posted Oct. 19, 2012