TOWSON, Md. - Seeking their second consecutive victory, Coach Rob Ambrose and the Towson University football team return to Johnny Unitas® Stadium on Saturday, October 17 to host the University of Delaware in the Tigers' annual Homecoming Game at 3:30 p.m.
Now 2-3 overall and 1-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association, the Tigers are coming off a 36-28 win at Rhode Island last week. Despite a high number of injuries, the Tigers jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first eight minutes and held on to win.
After the Rams cut their deficit to 29-28 early in the third quarter, the Tiger defense stepped up and shut out URI the rest of the game.
Quarterback Peter Athens, a first-year freshman, led the Tigers to the victory by accumulating 262 yards of total offense. He completed 11 of 21 passes for a career high 188 yards and a touchdown. Athens also ran for 74 yards on 13 carries and scored the first touchdown of his career on a 35-yard run with 6:50 remaining in the game.
"That was a great team victory," said Coach Ambrose. "We had a lot of adversity to fight through with all of our injuries. But we pulled together and got it done. We got contributions from our offense, our defense and our special teams."
Linebackers Danzel White and Alex Butt led the Tiger defense in the win at Rhode Island. The third-leading tackler in the CAA with 50 stops, White made eight tackles and recovered a fumble against the Rams. Butt also had eight tackles, including one tackle for lost yardage. With 35 tackles in five games, he is tied for 15th in the CAA.
Senior defensive end Brady Smith made four tackles at URI, including 1.5 tackles for lost yardage. A transfer from Boston College, Smith has made 30 tackles in five games, including two sacks and 5.5 tackles for lost yardage. He is tied for third among CAA defensive linemen in tackles.
The Tigers, who have a 25-11 record at Homecoming games, ended a 13-game road losing streak with their win at Rhode Island. It was Towson's first victory on the road since a 28-21 victory at Morgan State on Sept. 8, 2007.
When the 23rd-ranked Blue Hens visit Unitas Stadium, they will be the second straight nationally-ranked team to visit Towson. Two weeks ago, Towson hosted sixth-ranked New Hampshire.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Towson-Delaware game will feature the Pigskin Pass, a joint fund-raising effort by student-athletes from the two schools. The Pigskin Pass is a 58-mile relay run from the 50-yard line at the University of Delaware Stadium to the 50-yard line of Johnny Unitas® Stadium. The purpose is to deliver the special game ball prior to the kickoff of the Towson-Delaware football game while raising money and awareness for the Special Olympic chapters in Maryland and Delaware. The event is sponsored by CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield along with Dillon's Bus Services and Towson University Auxiliary Services.
Anyone wishing to contribute should click on the following link: www.pigskinpass.com.
Led by junior quarterback Pat Devlin, the Blue Hens are coming off a 43-27 win over 12th-ranked Massachusetts on Saturday. The victory upped Delaware's record to 4-2 overall and 2-2 in the CAA. It also enabled the Blue Hens to break into the national rankings for the first time this season.
Honored as the CAA Offensive Player of the Week the last two weeks, Devlin leads the CAA with 1,536 yards. A transfer from Penn State, Devlin has completed 119 of 181 passes with only three interceptions. He has also thrown a CAA-leading 11 touchdown passes. Junior Mark Mackey leads the Blue Hens with 26 catches for 298 yards and one TD.
"Delaware is a very, very talented football team," says Ambrose. "We are going to have to play well and keep our mistakes to a minimum if we are going to beat Delaware."
Devlin and the Blue Hen offense will be facing a Tiger defense that has made tremendous improvement since last season. Last season, the Tiger defense was ranked at the bottom of the CAA in nearly every category. Towson allowed 431.8 yards and 35.2 points per game last year.
After five games this season, the Tiger defense is eighth in the CAA, allowing 329.8 yards per game. Towson has also allowed 32.2 points per game, tenth in the CAA.
The Tigers' starting quarterback in the first five games, Athens has completed 57 of 107 passes for 675 yards and six touchdowns. However, he has thrown 12 interceptions. Athens, who has rushed for 107 yards on 29 carries, ranks ninth in the CAA with 782 yards of total offense.
After averaging only 55.5 rushing yards per game last season, the Tigers have nearly doubled that average this season. Towson ranks tenth in the CAA while averaging 125.6 yards per game this season.
A pair of "red shirt" freshmen, running backs Tremayne Dameron and Dominique Booker, have paced the Tigers' rushing game. The fifth-leading rusher in the CAA, Dameron is averaging 67.0 yards per game. In five games, he has run for 335 yards and scored a team-leading four touchdowns. Booker leads the Tigers by averaging 4.7 yards per carry. He has run for 131 yards on 28 carries.
The Tigers and the Blue Hens will be meeting for the 11th time. Delaware has won the last two games and owns a 6-4 series lead. This will be the third time that the teams have played at Unitas Stadium. In 2005, Towson came from behind to edge Delaware, 35-31. In 2007, the Blue Hens handed Towson a 27-7 loss.
Turnovers have plagued the Tigers in the first five games. Towson has a minus-10 turnover ratio. The Tigers have turned the ball over 18 times while forcing eight turnovers. The Tigers have scored 28 points off turnovers while allowing 33 points off turnovers.
At Rhode Island, the Tigers won the turnover battle for the first time this season. Towson turned the ball over twice at URI while forcing three turnovers. The Tigers scored 14 points off the Rams' three lost fumbles.
Romale Tucker, a transfer from Syracuse, started in place of Blakey and made three tackles. Sophomore Rob Osborne started in place of Ibia and recovered a fumble.
TIGER TIDBITS: Junior wide receiver Hakeem Moore, who missed the first two games of the season with a hand injury, returned to form at Rhode Island ... On the Tigers' second play from scrimmage, Moore caught a 78-yard touchdown pass to give the Tigers a quick 6-0 lead ... Moore finished the game with 168 all-purpose yards ... He had two kickoff returns for 78 yards.
Freshman Marc Magas has inherited the role of the Tigers' place kicker due to a season-ending knee injury to junior Jon Boyer ... At URI, Magas averaged 62.9 yards per kickoff and kicked a 27-yard field goal late in the first half to give Towson a 29-21 lead ... Magas also made three conversion kicks in four attempts.