TOWSON, Md. - When a team turns the ball over four times, you don't really expect to win. But in the fourth quarter Saturday, the Tigers (1-7, 0-5) found themselves down only one score after being outscored, 20-3, in the second and third quarters.
A late surge wasn't enough though, as the Tigers lost, 30-20, against Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opponent Rhode Island (3-5, 2-3), despite amassing 378 total yards and converting 25 first downs.
"I know we're getting better and I can tell we're getting better," Towson Coach Rob Ambrose said. "I enjoy watching us getting better."
The Tigers had three fumbles in the first half, all of which they lost. The first, a fumble by quarterback Chris Hart, gave the Rams the ball on the Towson 32-yard line but Rhode Island had to punt after being unable to convert on 3rd down and 18.
"[We had] too many mistakes," Ambrose said. "I don't care if you're coaching midget football or you coach the NFL. You cannot turn the ball over four times and win."
A couple of minutes later, the Tigers fumbled again when wide receiver Erron Banks couldn't hold on after catching a pass from Hart. Rhode Island defender Willie McGinnis knocked the ball loose and recovered it, giving the Rams a 1st down on Towson's 29-yard line.
Rhode Island converted on 4th and 11, giving the Rams the ball on the Tiger 17-yard line and on the following play, a roughing the passer call on linebacker Donte Blakey gave Rhode Island a 1st and goal.
Running back Ayo Isijola scored the first touchdown of the game with 4:14 remaining in the quarter on a three yard run to complete a drive that went seven plays for 29 yards.
The Tigers knotted the game at seven when Hart connected with wide receiver Alex Blake for a 56-yard reception. The touchdown was the first offensive score for the Tigers in the first quarter all season.
Towson went ahead after Blakey recovered a fumble by quarterback Steve Probst, giving the Tigers the ball on Rhode Island's 44-yard line. Nick Wallace made a 28-yard field goal, giving Towson a three point edge, 10-7, with 12:01 left in the first half.
Probst threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Joe Migliarese with just over four minutes to play in the half, giving the Rams their first lead of the game, 14-10, after a 10-play, 75-yard drive.
URI extended their lead with 37 seconds remaining when Isijola converted on a one-yard touchdown run. The extra point put the Rams up, 21-10, a score that stayed for the remainder of the first half.
The Rams only gained three more total yards than the Tigers, but the three lost fumbles seemed to be the difference in a half that saw both teams with very similar numbers.
Rhode Island expanded its lead, 27-10, in the second half with two made field goals by Louis Feinstein from 24 and 38 yards.
With just under 11 minutes remaining in the game, the Tigers roared back with a 28-yard field goal by Wallace and a 34-yard touchdown run by Hart in the following drive. The touchdown was the first of Hart's career and brought the Tigers within seven with 6:46 to play.
But, Towson couldn't get a first down on 4th-and-1 on their next drive and turned the ball over on downs, giving the Rams the ball on the Tigers' 23-yard line.
The Rams didn't waste time and converted a 21-yard field goal to go ahead, 30-20, with just over a minute to play, making it a two possession game.
The Tigers will travel to Delaware before taking on Maine in their final home game on November 13 at 2 p.m.