TOWSON, Md. - In their Homecoming Game against Colgate, it took the Tigers an entire first quarter to get their offense going. Once they got their offense going, the Raiders had a difficult time stopping them as the Tigers rolled to their third straight win, a 42-17 victory over Colgate before a crowd of 9,919 at Minnegan Stadium at Johnny Unitas Stadium® on Saturday evening.
The Tigers, who are 3-0 for the first time since 2006, earned their first win in ten meetings against Colgate.
"Coming off the bye week, I wasn't surprised that we came out slowly," said Coach Rob Ambrose. "Football is a game of rhythm and I thought it might take some time to get our offense back into rhythm. That doesn't mean that I wasn't frustrated by it. But, we stuck with it and we started moving the ball."
For the first time this season, the Tigers trailed after the first quarter as Colgate led by 3-0.
The Raiders opened the game with a very impressive drive as they converted two fourth down opportunities. Colgate reached the Tigers' ten-yard before a personal foul penalty and a bad snap out of shotgun formation pushed the Raiders back to the 30-yard line. Freshman place kicker Joe Uglietto gave the Raiders a 3-0 lead when he kicked a career long 40-yard field goal that barely made it over the crossbar. Uglietto's field goal capped off a 17-play, 52-yard drive that consumed 8:36 off the clock.
Midway through the first quarter, the Raiders had a great opportunity to extend their lead when cornerback Kenny McKenzie recovered a fumble at the Tigers' 24-yard line. However, the Tiger defense held and took over on downs when quarterback Gavin McCarney threw three straight incomplete passes.
Once the Tigers took over on downs, their offense responded with its best drive of the game. Sophomore quarterback Grant Enders started the drive with an eight-yard pass to Leon Kinnard and threw a 22-yard pass to tight end James Oboh to move into Colgate territory. When Enders completed a 20-yard pass to Tom Ryan, the Tigers had the ball inside the Raiders' 15-yard line. Four plays later, freshman Terrance West scored on a two-yard touchdown run with 11:02 left in the half to put the Tigers ahead, 7-3.
Later in the second quarter, the Raiders faced third down-and-three at the Tigers' 37-yard line. Senior defensive tackle Marcus Valentine recorded a sack and the Tigers took over at their own 44-yard line. Once again, the Tigers responded with another long touchdown drive. A 21-yard run by West started the drive. Seven plays later, sophomore quarterback Grant Enders scored on a one-yard run to give the Tigers a 14-3 advantage with 3:51 left in the first half.
Senior safety Nick Oates looked like he gave the Tigers a 21-3 halftime lead when he intercepted a pass with six seconds remaining and returned it 79 yards for an apparent touchdown. However, the Tigers were penalized for an illegal block and the play was called back.
For the third game in a row, the Tigers went to halftime with 14 points. In the season opener, they owned a 14-3 lead over Morgan State. In their win over Villanova, they were ahead by 14-0 at intermission.
For the third game in a row, the Tigers took control of the game in the third quarter. On the fourth play of the second half, Enders completed a short pass to senior fullback Tyler Wharton, who ran 49 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 21-3 lead.
On their next possession, the Raiders drove to the Tigers' 41 yard line where junior defensive tackle Matt Morgan recovered a fumble. Junior tailback Dominique Booker carried the ball three times in a row for the Tigers. On the third play, he broke free for a 43-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 28-3 advantage.
Another Colgate turnover helped the Tigers increase their lead. Junior linebacker Alexander DiSanzo, a transfer from Boston College, intercepted a pass at the Colgate 23-yard line. Three plays later, West scored his second touchdown of the game on a two-yard run, giving the Tigers a 35-3 advantage.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, junior Zauhn Lewis scored the first rushing touchdown of his career to complete a 74-yard drive as Colgate reduced its deficit to 35-10.
But, West scored his third touchdown of the game on a 22-yard run to increase the Tigers' advantage to 42-10 with 10:58 left.
The Raiders scored a late touchdown when McCarney threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Mputu with 21 seconds remaining.
"Towson did a great job," admitted Colgate Coach Dick Biddle. "It is very obvious that football is important to them. Their program has improved a lot and I am sure they are going to get better.
"Our margin of error is very small and we have to find some answers," he added. "But, Towson is better than we are."
Then, on his way out of the press conference, he added with a smile, "But, I am still 9-1 against them."
Ambrose added, "I have a lot of respect for Coach Biddle. He is a tremendous coach. That's why this game was so important for me. I knew that we were 0-and-9 against them and I was part of a lot of those 'O's. I can recall some of those losses were embarrassing. We wanted to show them that this wasn't the 'same old Towson.'"
West, named as the Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week two weeks ago, led the Tigers with 85 rushing yards on 13 carries and scored three touchdowns. Booker, who started the game in place of an injured Tremayne Dameron, ran for 71 yards on six attempts with one touchdowns.
Enders completed 10 of 15 passes for 137 yards and one touchdown and scored his second touchdown of the season on a one-yard run.
"I knew that a 3-0 start was possible," said Coach Ambrose. "This is all part of a process. It's another brick in our building program and it's a prettier brick than many of them because it came against Colgate and it came in our Homecoming Game."
The undefeated Tigers, who could move into the NCAA FCS Top 25 national rankings this week, return to action next Saturday afternoon when they visit the University of Maryland at Byrd Stadium at 3:30 p.m.Notes: The Tigers have scored 16 touchdowns this season in just three games … Of those 16 touchdowns, 10 of them have been rushing TDs … The Tigers didn’t score their 16th touchdown last year until the 10th game of the season against Maine … Wharton now has four receptions this season and three of them have been touchdowns … The crowd of 9,919 fans is the third-largest in Unitas Stadium history.