Ambrose Not Interested In Style Points
Courtesy: Peter Schlehr, SID Emeritus  
Release: 11/13/2012

By Peter Schlehr
SID Emeritus

Fortunately, the question regarding style points thrown at Tiger head football coach Rob Ambrose in Saturday’s post game presser after Towson’s 41-10 victory over Rhode Island came from a local guy.

Otherwise, Ambrose might not have reacted so calmly. He took it as friendly fire and handled it with professional aplomb.

"The name of the game is to win and sadly, if style points actually count, that's a sad state of affairs," Rob said as he fought off the urge to raise his voice a few more octaves. “We’re not going to leave our starters in for four quarters to run up the score on somebody. If they want to keep us out (of the playoffs) for being classy, then that's fine by me. We're going to do it the right way and represent the game as best we can."  

Style points refer to the winner piling it on a hapless loser in a late season game in hopes the drubbing will catch the favor of the committee that’s eventually going to select the playoff teams. Those who choose to stomp on their opponent do so for two reasons: thinking their seed can be improved or, if on the bubble, they can’t possibly be overlooked because of their late blooming and surging prowess.

It’s supposed to say to the selectors, “… you gotta take us. Look at what we did to …”

In either case, it’s a despicable notion. Ambrose is perfectly clear on Towson’s position – ain’t gonna happen on this campus.

The issue of style points was raised because the Tigers are still very much in the hunt for a second straight NCAA Football Championship Subdivision post-season spot. But there’s a log jam at the top of the Colonial Athletic Association standings. Old Dominion and New Hampshire are tied for first at 6-1. Towson, James Madison, Richmond and Villanova are tied for third with all owning identical 5-2 league records

This last week of the regular season is going to be a scramble.

The Tigers have to face a homestanding UNH team that enjoyed a bye week this past Saturday and is continuing to work on a six-game win streak. Towson must win in Durham if it hopes to return to the playoffs. Looking at the standings, though, a little help from others in the league wouldn’t hurt. The Tigers’ fate could also depend on what happens to JMU against visiting Old Dominion, how Richmond fares at William & Mary and if Delaware can hold off Villanova in Newark.

The NCAA doesn’t let everybody into its playoffs. Twenty schools go. The rest watch.

In 2011, Towson was one of five CAA teams to go. The Tigers picked up the automatic bid because they were the league champs. The other four were taken at-large. But the league had more clout last year.

If Towson survives this weekend in the North Country and can return to the post-season, it won’t come to pass because the Tigers humiliated an opponent in an effort to build a case. Towson played an honorable game against Rhode Island and came out on top. Period.

Ambrose’s players were more interested in building a comfortable lead to allow Towson’s bench a rare opportunity to participate than trying to influence a committee.

Senior runningback Dominique Booker, who ran for a career high 181 yards including an 83-yard touchdown sprint (second longest run in program history) said it best when he applauded Clayton Minott’s score.

With 3:50 left in the third quarter and leading 34-10, Towson mounted an 80-yard drive that began with a 15 yard burst by Booker. Eight plays later the Tigers had a second and goal at the Rhode Island one. Minott, a red-shirt freshman, was inserted into the game, got the call and scored Towson’s last points with his first college touchdown.

“I was more happy to see a young guy like Clay Minott score a touchdown today,” said Booker when asked to assess his own performance in the Senior Day game. “I see a lot of myself in him. It really made me happy for him.”

Those are the kind of silent style points Rob Ambrose would rather his Tigers make with their play on the field.  




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