TOWSON, Md. - Saturday's game against Maine was emblematic of the Tigers' entire football season.
Turnovers, penalties and too little, too late.
But as disappointing as the 28-18 Colonial Athletic Association loss to Maine (4-6) was, the program has shown signs of improvement.
"The kids are resilient," Towson Coach Rob Ambrose said. "They play hard and they play for each other. They play with a lot of trust, love, energy and they are going to finish what they started.
"But, until they play with more discipline during the moment with assignments, schematic and technical discipline in what they are doing, they aren't going to get over the hump," he added.
A quiet first quarter for both teams saw only one first down and 29 total yards of offense for the Tigers. At the end of the quarter, the game was scoreless but Maine had a 3rd-and-1 on Towson's two-yard line.
Tiger defender Frank Beltre stopped Maine tailback Pushaun Brown, forcing the Black Bears to attempt a field goal. The 21-yard kick by Brian Harvey was good, capping off an 8-play, 53-yard drive and giving Maine a 3-0 lead with 14:14 left in the half.
Back-to-back pass interference and roughing the passer penalties on the Tigers kept Maine's drive alive. In the first 20 minutes of the game, Towson committed seven penalties for 69 total yards.
Penalties also hurt the Black Bears though. A personal foul call on Jeremy Kelley during a Towson punt gave the Tigers a first down with the ball on the Maine 35-yard line.
Sophomore tight end Cory Kirby caught a 30-yard pass from graduate student Bart Blanchard, giving the Tigers 1st-and-Goal at the Maine five-yard line. The play led to a five-yard touchdown run by Tremayne Dameron, putting Towson ahead by 7-3 with 6:57 left in the half.
The 11-play drive went for 81 yards and resulted in the Tigers' first points in nearly 90 minutes of play.
A few minutes later, Harvey made a 31-yard field goal for the Black Bears to pull within 7-6 with five minutes left in the half.
Towson tried to extend its lead with less than a minute to go but Nick Wallace couldn't convert a 39 yard field goal attempt.
With the Tigers driving and threatening to score on Maine's 16-yard line, Blanchard's pass was tipped and then caught by Maine linebacker Mark Masterson, who returned the ball 82 yards to the Towson 1-yard line.
Brown scored on the very next play, giving the Black Bears the lead for the first time since the start of the second quarter. The extra point gave Maine a six-point lead, 13-7, with 13:18 left in the third quarter.
On the next Towson possession, a bad snap on a punt attempt forced D.J. Soven to be tackled at the 24-yard line, giving Maine a first down deep in Towson territory.
Maine couldn't take advantage of the turnover on downs as a 3rd down sack by Marcus Valentine was huge for the Tiger defense, causing the Black Bears to punt and keeping the Tigers within one score.
"The defense moving forward is going to be better even after this year because we have so few seniors on the defense that it's going to be able to pick up and continue to be good," senior Yaky Ibia said.
The momentum was short lived as Maine increased its lead with two minutes remaining in the third quarter when quarterback Chris Treister ran the ball in for a one-yard TD run. The Black Bears couldn't convert the two point conversion and went up, 19-7.
With 13 minutes left in the game, Wallace made a 36-yard field goal to bring the Tigers within nine, 19-10.
The Tigers defense made another big play with six minutes to play when junior linebacker Winn McAloney caused a fumble that was recovered by Valentine on the Towson 34-yard line.
But on the very next play, Trevor Coston intercepted Blanchard's pass that was intended for Tom Ryan at the 35-yard line and returned it for a touchdown, upping the Maine advantage to 26-10.
"Everybody understands that if we didn't shoot ourselves in the foot tonight, we could have gotten the win," Ibia said. "We played toe to toe with these guys and the penalties and turnovers were what really hurt us."
A 1-yard touchdown run by Dameron, his second of the game, and a two-point conversion to Ryan put the Tigers within 26-18.
Maine recovered the onside kick, but the Tigers defense made a stand and forced the Black Bears to punt.
A holding penalty called on Towson in the end zone resulted in a safety, giving Maine a 10-point lead and ending any hopes of a Tiger comeback on Senior Day.
The Tigers will play their last game of the season next Saturday at 12 noon against CAA opponent New Hampshire.