Coming off a near-upset at sixth-ranked
“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
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
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
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,
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
“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 (
While Manning and Mack are the team’s leading tacklers, junior linebacker Alex Butt (
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
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
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.