TOWSON, Md. – After posting back-to-back home victories over William & Mary and St. Francis (Pa.), Coach Rob Ambrose and the Tiger football team will face the biggest challenge in the 44-year history of the Towson football program when they visit national power Louisiana State University in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge on Saturday, September 29 at 7 p.m. (EDT).
The Towson-LSU matchup will be nationally-televised on ESPNU. The game will also be aired on the Tigers’ web site, www.TowsonTigers.com with Spiro Morekas and Ron Meehan calling the action. The Tigers’ internet broadcast also features a one-hour pre-game show.
Ranked 12th in NCAA FCS this week, Towson will be facing an undefeated LSU team which has won 17 consecutive regular season game. Ranked third in FBS this week, LSU has a 4-0 record and has outscored its opponents, 157-41. Last season, LSU won the Southeastern Conference championship and finished as national runner-up to Alabama.
In his eighth season as the LSU Coach, Les Miles has led LSU to a 79-18 record, including the 2007 national championship. LSU enters Saturday night’s game against Towson with a 20-game winning streak at Tiger Stadium. The Bayou Tigers have won their last 17 regular season games in a row. Their 40-game winning streak against non-conference teams is also an NCAA record.
Saturday night’s contest matches up the winners of two National Coach of the Year awards. While Miles was the BCS Coach of the Year for LSU, Ambrose was the winner of the Eddie Robinson Award as the FCS National Coach of the Year.
“I have spent a number of hours watching film on LSU,” says Coach Ambrose. “I’ve been watching them on offense, defense and special teams and I’ve been looking for any holes I can find. I can’t find any.
“This is the most athletically-talented, technically-sound football team I’ve ever seen on film,” he added. “Obviously, this is going to be quite a challenge for us.’
When Towson takes the field in Death Valley on Saturday night, the Tigers will be playing in front of a crowd of more than 90,000 fans. It will be the largest crowd ever to watch a Towson football game. Last season, Towson played Maryland before a crowd of 35,573 at Byrd Stadium. Towson has only played a game in front of more than 30,000 fans three times.
Towson heads to LSU with one of the top defensive teams in NCAA FCS football. Led by senior safety Jordan Dangerfield, Towson ranks fifth in the nation, allowing only 252.67 yards of total offense per game. Towson’s pass defense has also been solid, leading FCS by allowing only 107 passing yards per game.
Dangerfield leads Towson with 20 tackles in three games. Junior linebacker Telvion Clark, a transfer from Virginia Tech, is second on the team with 17 tackles while freshman linebacker Bryton Barr has made 16 tackles.
Senior defensive end Romale Tucker is fourth on the team with 15 tackles. The team leader with three quarterback sacks, Tucker is the Colonial Athletic Association co-leader.
The Tigers are coming off a 46-17 Homecoming victory over St. Francis (Pa.). After the Red Flash took an early 7-0 lead, Towson roared back to score 29 unanswered points. By halftime, Towson owned a 43-14 advantage. Sophomore running back Terrance West, a pre-season All-American, scored three touchdowns in the win. Although West was limited to 62 yards on eight carries, West broke the Towson career record for rushing touchdowns.
In 14 career games, West has rushed for 1,545 yards and he has scored 34 rushing touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Grant Enders has thrown for 605 yards and rushed for 90 yards in the Tigers’ first three games of the season. He has completed 56 of 75 passes (.747) and ranks second in the CAA with 695 yards of total offense. Enders leads the CAA with a 152.03 passing efficiency.
Turnovers continue to be a concern for Towson. After three games, Towson has a minus-7 turnover ratio. Towson has turned the ball over eight times and generated only one turnover.
In their first three games, the Towson Tigers have been statistically dominant. Towson has 1,194 yards of total offense and has allowed only 758 total yards. Towson has run 200 total plays while its opponents have 172 plays. Towson has also dominated time of possession, controlling the clock for 33:18 of each game. Towson has 65 first downs while the opposition has 48 first downs.
When Towson plays LSU, it will mark the school’s sixth game against an NCAA FBS opponent. Towson is 0-5 against FBS teams with losses at Navy, Northwestern, Indiana, Maryland and Kent State.
After Towson’s game at LSU, the defending CAA champions return to conference play. On Saturday, Oct. 6, Towson visits James Madison University for a 1:00 start.
TIGER TALES: Saturday night’s game presents a rare opportunity for Towson to play a game on natural grass … Towson’s Minnegan Field at Johnny Unitas® Stadium has been an artificial surface facility since 1999 ... In addition, 10 of the 11 CAA teams play on an artificial surface ... Since Ambrose became Towson’s coach in 2009, this is only Towson’s fifth game on natural grass ... Towson is 2-2 in games played on natural grass over the last three-plus seasons.
Last year, Towson made 80-of-152 third down attempts and led NCAA FCS in that category ... On fourth down, Towson
was also successful and was 15-for-25, making 60 percent of its attempts ... That trend has continued into the 2012 season ... Once again, Towson has been remarkably consistent on third down ... Through the first three games, Towson is 19-for-35 on third down (.543), a mark that places the Tigers fifth in NCAA FCS.
In three games, Towson has converted better than 50 percent on third down every time ... At Kent State, Towson was 7-for-12 ... The Tigers were 6-for-12 in their win over William & Mary and Towson was 6-for-11 against St. Francis last week.
For the third time in four games, Towson’s game will be televised as ESPNU will air this contest … The season opener at Kent State was carried on Comcast-Plus while the Tigers’ home opener against William & Mary on Sept. 15 was televised by NBC Sports Network … Towson’s CAA game at James Madison next week will also be televised by NBC Sports Network.
For the fourth year in a row, Coach Ambrose and his coaching staff will join their coaching colleagues across the nation by participating in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) “Coach to Cure MD” event when Towson plays at LSU … As part of the program, Tiger coaches wear shoulder patches on the sidelines to help raise awareness for the “Coach to Cure MD” … Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed during childhood and primarily affects boys across all races and cultures ... Boys and young men with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy develop progressive muscle weakness that eventually causes loss of mobility, wheelchair dependency and a decline in respiratory and cardiac function … Currently, there is no cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and limited therapeutic options exist.