By Barrett Neale
The Towson football team has already faced two top 10 teams this season, and it will take on a third when it hosts No. 7 James Madison Oct. 9.
The Tigers (1-4, 0-2 Colonial Athletic Association) lost, 27-14, to No. 8 Massachusetts Oct. 2, but it was the first game in more than two years they did not commit a turnover.
"In order for us to compete in games like this, we have to take care of the ball and we have to force some turnovers," coach Rob Ambrose said. "That's what we did against UMass and we were in the game."
The Minutemen fumbled the ball three times during the first half, two of which the defense returned for touchdowns. Sophomore defensive back Jordan Dangerfield forced one of those fumbles, and he continues to lead Towson defensively, ranking fourth in the CAA with 43 tackles.
"For the first three quarters, our defense played together and did a great job slowing down UMass," Ambrose said. "UMass is a team that scored 37 points against Michigan in Ann Arbor and we held their offense below their averages."
Towson senior wide receiver Hakeem Moore leads the conference with averages of 169.4 all-purpose yards per game and 77.4 receiving yards per game. His kickoff return average of 23.5 yards per return ranks second in the CAA.
In his final season, Moore is climbing up the program's record list. He needs 72 all-purpose yards to become the 10th player with 3,000 all-purpose yards and seven catches to become the 19th player with 100 receptions.
James Madison (3-1, 0-1 CAA) made headlines earlier this season for its Sept. 11 victory against Virginia Tech, but lost its game last week to No. 2 Delaware, 13-10. The Dukes lead the all-time series against Towson, 16-5-1, and have won each of the past six games between the schools.
"We played the No. 8 team last week and we have the seventh-ranked team this week," Ambrose said. "That is life in the CAA. Consider this -- James Madison has a 1-0 record against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and JMU is 0-1 against CAA teams. That says it all."
The Dukes' defense is ranked second in the Football Championship Subdivision, allowing an average of 9.8 points per game. They have five interceptions and six fumble recoveries, leading to a plus-four turnover ratio ranking second in the conference.
"James Madison had a very good defense last year and they might be better this year," Ambrose said. "They are incredibly strong and fast. Just one more great CAA team we have to play."
Offensively, senior quarterback Drew Dudzik leads James Madison with 510 passing yards for four touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns.
The 7 p.m. game will air on FOX Sports 1370 AM with play-by-play analysis by Spiro Morekas and color commentary from Tom Judd.
The game is part of Family Weekend at Towson and will feature a Mascot Mingle in which various mascots scrimmage against a local youth team at halftime.
Along with Dog the Tiger, mascots will include Poe from the Baltimore Ravens, the Oriole Bird, James Madison's Duke Dog, Keyote from the Frederick Keys, Blue Crab from the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, The Cups from Smoothie King, The Kid from Hampden Moving and Storage and the Turtle from The Green Turtle.
Posted Oct. 7, 2010