FOOTBALL: Tigers Prepping For Home Opener On Saturday Night
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 09/19/2009
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Juniors Ollie Thomas and Donte Blakey led the Tiger defense at Northwestern.
Courtesy:Towson Athletics

TOWSON, Md. - Rob Ambrose will make his Johnny Unitas® Stadium debut as the head coach of the Towson University football team when the Tigers open their home schedule by hosting Coastal Carolina University on Saturday, September 19 at 7:00 p.m.

In addition to serving as Coach Ambrose's debut, the Coastal Carolina game will be the first Towson Community Night. As part of Towson Community Night, local fans will have the opportunity to purchase reserved seat tickets for $8.00 each, a significant savings over the regular ticket price. Members of the Towson Community can purchase up to eight tickets each to watch the Tigers open their home schedule.

In addition to watching the Tigers host Coastal Carolina, fans attending the home opener will also be treated to a post-game fireworks display.

After opening their season with a loss at Northwestern University, the Tigers had a bye last week.

"We were not 'off' last week," stresses Coach Ambrose. "We didn't play a game but we worked very hard and we got a lot of things accomplished. In college football, it is generally known that teams make the most improvement between their first and second games. We think that will be true for us."

While the Tigers are seeking their first win of the season, Coastal Carolina is coming off a 24-17 victory over Monmouth in its home opener on Saturday night. The victory evened the Chanticleers' record at 1-1. Like Towson, Coastal Carolina opened its season by playing an NCAA FBS program on the road. While Towson dropped a 47-14 decision at Northwestern, the Chanticleers lost at Kent State, 16-0.

Coastal Carolina is only playing its seventh season of college football. The only head coach that the Chanticleers have ever known, David Bennett has guided Coastal to a 46-24 record. The Chanticleers won the Big South Conference championship in 2004, 2005 and 2006.

Last season, Coastal Carolina faced Towson for the first time and handed the Tigers a one-sided loss.

"I wasn't here last year so I don't know what happened," admits Coach Ambrose. "When we had our team meeting to talk about this game, I asked the players what the score was last year. I didn't know. Most of them knew that we lost, 31-3. All I said was 'Well, this is what we need to do to win this week.' Last year has nothing to do with this year."

In last year's game in South Carolina, the Chanticleers rushed for 302 yards and broke the game open in the second half. After Towson took a 3-0 lead on a game-opening 75-yard, 15-play drive, the Chanticleers' defense shut down the Tigers. Meanwhile, Coastal Carolina pulled away in the second half, thanks to some big plays. A 63-yard touchdown pass from Zach MacDowall to Brandon Wheatley gave Coastal a 17-3 lead late in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Chanticleers closed out the victory when MacDowall threw a 19-yard TD pass to Trent Usher and Eric O'Neal scored on a 49-yard run.

Coastal Carolina piled up 459 yards of total offense in the win while holding Towson to 186 total yards, a seasonal low.

"Our coaching staff has been looking forward to this game ever since we started back in the Spring," says Coach Ambrose. "It seems like the Towson Communuity is very excited about this game and we hope they come out and have a great time. We're doing everything possible to make sure we have a great night."

The Tigers are seeking their fifth consecutive victory in a home opener this week. In their 40 previous home openers, the Tigers have a 30-10 record. In addition to winning their last four home openers, the Tigers have won 11 of their last 12 home openers. The only loss in the last 12 years came in 2004 against Northeastern.

The Tigers came out of their 47-14 loss to Northwestern in good shape in terms of injuries. Senior linebacker Alex Butt suffered a shoulder injury against the Wildcats and missed most of the game. He should be ready to play this week.  

After the Tigers' game against Coastal Carolina, they will make the short trip to Morgan State to face the Golden Bears at Hughes Stadium on September 26 at 4:00 p.m. It will be the 22nd meeting in the series, which Towson leads, 16-5.

TIGER TALES: The Coastal Carolina game is the first game of a very attractive home schedule at Johnny Unitas® Stadium ... On October 3, Towson hosts ninth-ranked New Hampshire at 3:30 p.m. as part of Family Weekend ... On October 17, the Tigers face rival Delaware as part of Homecoming at 3:30 p.m. ... On October 31, number one-ranked Richmond, the defending NCAA FCS champion, visits Unitas Stadium at 1:00 p.m. ... On November 14, the Tigers host second-ranked Villanova at 1:00 p.m.

The Tigers have a very young team this season with only nine seniors on the roster ... In fact, the Tigers used seven true freshmen in the season opener at Northwestern as quarterback Peter Athens, quarterback Tommy Chroniger, running back B.J. Greening, wide receiver Alex Blake, wide receiver Tom Ryan, defensive back Dwayne Price and place kicker Marc Magas all made their college debuts.

Senior defensive end Brady Smith had an impressive debut at Northwestern as he made 11 tackles in his first game for the Tigers ... Junior linebacker Donte Blakey had ten tackles while Danzel White, a "red shirt" freshman, made nine tackles in his first collegiate game ... Junior tackle Yaky Ibia, a second-year starter, also played well at Northwestern .. Ibia made six tackles and had a nine-yard sack of the quarterback.

Athens became the first true freshman to start his first game at quarterback for the Tigers since former All-American Dan Dullea started in 1973 ... Athens completed 15 of 25 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown against Northwestern ... Senior David Newsom was the Tigers' leading pass receiver with six catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.

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