Tiger Seniors Hoping To Spring Upset Against #1 James Madison
Courtesy: TBD  
Release: 11/17/2008
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Austin Weibley is one of 10 seniors who will face JMU.


TOWSON, Md. – Led by the record-breaking pass combination of quarterback Sean Schaefer (Northern H.S./Dunkirk, Md.) and Marcus Lee (St. John’s College H.S./Silver Spring, Md.), ten Towson University seniors will be seeking to pull off a major upset when the Tigers host Colonial Athletic Association champion James Madison University in their final home game at Johnny Unitas® Stadium on Saturday, November 22 at 1:00 p.m.

Coming off a near-upset at sixth-ranked Villanova University, the Tigers will be facing a nationally-ranked team for the fifth time this season. The Tigers, who dropped a 34-31 heart-breaker at Villanova, are 3-8 overall and 1-6 in the CAA.

“All season long, we’ve been talking about the need to play all 60 minutes,” said Coach Gordy Combs. “Against Villanova, we came close. If we could take two plays out of that game (an interception for a touchdown and a blocked field goal), we would have won.

“Playing James Madison is a very difficult game for us,” he adds. “Their quarterback (Rodney Landers) can give you so many problems. But, we are going to play hard, play fast and play smart and give it our best shot. It would be a great feather in our cap to win this week.”

Ranked number one in NCAA FCS, James Madison comes into the regular season finale with a 9-1 overall record and nine straight wins. Now 7-0 in the CAA, the Dukes clinched the CAA championship and automatic NCAA playoff berth with a 48-24 win over 12th-ranked William & Mary on Saturday. Since opening the season with a loss at Duke University, JMU has won nine games in a row, including a 35-32 come-from-behind win over three-time defending national champion Appalachian State.

In the Tigers’ upset bid at Villanova, Schaefer enjoyed another outstanding performance as he completed 35 of 47 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns. With his 35 completions, he became the third NCAA FCS quarterback to complete 1,000 passes in his college career, joining Ricky Santos of New Hampshire (1,122) and Marcus Brady of Cal State Northridge (1,039). An All-American at UNH, Santos completed 1,122 of 1,636 passes for 13,212 yards and 123 touchdowns from 2004 to 2007. Brady completed 1,039 of 1,680 passes for 12,479 yards and 109 TD’s from 1998 to 2001.

By passing for more than 300 yards for the 14th time in his career, Schaefer moved into tenth place on the NCAA FCS career passing yardage list. In his career, Schaefer has now completed 1,017 passes in 1,562 attempts for 11,329 yards and 74 touchdowns.

Schaefer enters the season finale as the CAA leader in passing yardage and total offense. He is averaging 270.1 passing yards per game and 271.7 yards of total offense per game. He has completed 276 passes in 411 attempts for 2,971 yards and 23 touchdowns.

At Villanova, Lee caught eight passes for 52 yards and two touchdowns as he matched the Towson University career record for receptions. He now has 219 catches for 2,331 yards and 13 touchdowns in his career, matching the mark set by former All-American Jamal White, ’02. In his career, White had a school record 219 receptions for 3,156 yards.

Lee, who has caught at least one pass in all 44 games of his career, will break the school record with his first reception on Saturday. In 2008, he has been the Tigers’ top receiver with 52 catches for 403 yards and six touchdowns. A pre-season All-CAA selection, Lee is the fifth-leading receiver in the CAA.

Schaefer and Lee are two of ten Tiger seniors who will be playing in their final college game on Saturday. Place kicker Mark Bencivengo (Steinert H.S./Hamilton, N.J.), wide receiver Tommy Breaux (Randallstown H.S./Randallstown, Md.), defensive tackle Scott Bullock (St. Augustine Prep/Egg Harbor Township, N.J.), tight end Anthony Fair (Mt. St. Joseph H.S./Columbia, Md.), defensive back Drew Mack (Buena Regional H.S./Landisville, N.J.), linebacker Jordan Manning (St. Joseph H.S./Mays Landing, N.J.), defensive back Jeff Snow (Brother Rice H.S./Southfield, Mich.) and offensive lineman Austin Weibley (Boiling Springs H.S./Mt. Holly Springs, Pa.) will all be honored in pre-game ceremonies. In addition, senior manager Mike McIntosh and student assistant coach Spencer Booth will be recognized prior to the start of Saturday’s game.

Manning and Mack have been the Tigers’ defensive leaders this season. With 91 tackles in 11 games, Manning is ranked fifth in the CAA. The fourth-leading tackler in Towson history, Manning has 324 tackles in his career and needs five tackles to move into third place on the Tigers’ career tackle list. Despite missing three games, Mack is second on the team with 71 tackles in eight games. He has broken up eight passes and made five tackles for lost yardage.

“This is a tremendous group of football players and people,” says Coach Combs. “The quality of these young men is outstanding and they are going to be very difficult to replace.”

While Lee is the Tigers’ top receiver with 52 catches for 403 yards and six touchdowns, he is one of six Tigers with 29 or more catches. Junior David Newsom (Elizabeth H.S./Elizabeth, N.J.) and sophomore Steve Holmes (Old Mill H.S./Severn, Md.) are tied for second on the team with 41 catches while sophomore Hakeem Moore (Courtland H.S./Fredericksburg, Va.) has 39 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown. Junior Casey Cegles (Eastern H.S./Ocean City, N.J.) has 33 receptions for 424 yards and four TD’s while Breaux has caught 29 passes for 433 yards and four touchdowns.

While Manning and Mack are the team’s leading tacklers, junior linebacker Alex Butt (Hereford H.S./Parkton, Md.) has also had a good season. A starter in all 11 games, he is third on the team with 60 tackles. He also has one interception and one fumble recovery.

On Saturday, the Tigers will be facing James Madison for the 22nd time as they renew their longest rivalry. The Tigers and the Dukes met for the first time in 1976 when both teams were very young NCAA Division III programs. JMU owns a 15-5-1 series lead but the Dukes have been known to struggle at Towson. JMU has a record of 5-4-1 at Towson.

Led by Landers, the Dukes have the top offense in the CAA. James Madison is averaging 38.0 points and 262.7 rushing yards per game. Landers is the CAA leader with 126.0 rushing yards per game. Honored as the CAA Offensive Player of the Week five times this season, he has scored 11 touchdowns and thrown 14 touchdown passes.

Junior Scotty McGee is also a very talented performer for the Dukes as a punt return specialist. He leads the CAA with a 13.6 average and has returned three punts for touchdowns. In last year’s 23-13 win over Towson, he returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.

TIGER TALES:  Saturday’s game will be the first time that Towson has ever faced the number one-ranked team in the nation ... In 1981, the Tigers played New Hampshire when the Wildcats were ranked number two ... In 1987, Towson beat Maine when the Black Bears were ranked third in the nation ... Towson’s last win over a nationally-ranked team was a 23-21 victory over 14th-ranked Richmond on October 6, 2007.

Since Towson and JMU have become conference rivals, the Dukes have won all four games between the two schools.

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