Tigers control their playoff destiny
In the final home game of the season, the No. 12 Tigers will return to Johnny Unitas Stadium to face the No. 7 New Hampshire Wildcats in a game that could determine the Colonial Athletic Association’s conference champion.
With Towson, New Hampshire and Maine all currently tied for first place in the CAA, the Tigers (7-2, 5-1 CAA) are the only team that controls their own fate.
“I’ve heard it, but we focus on one [game] at a time,” junior linebacker Alexander DiSanzo said. “That’s what we’re coached to do. I honestly think that we do believe that there is one game ahead of us, and we focus on that.”
New Hampshire (7-2, 5-1 CAA) has the second best offense in the CAA, probably the best offense the Tigers have faced this season, according to Head Coach Rob Ambrose.
The Wildcats elite quarterback Kevin Decker is the most efficient quarterback in the conference. He has completed 70 percent of his passes this year and has thrown for 16 touchdowns.
“Kevin Decker is awesome,” Ambrose said. “Really. I should have offered him at UConn so he would be at UConn so we don’t have to play against him. He puts the ball exactly where he needs to put it. There’s a reason he is in the running for the Walter Peyton Award for the best player in the entire country. He is that good.”
DiSanzo said that if the defense stays assignment-sound, the Tigers should prevail. He has recorded three interceptions this season, and he has played a significant role in the Tigers defense, a unit that has forced 19 turnovers this season.
“[New Hampshire’s offense] is good,” DiSanzo said. “They are solid around the board. We just got to do what we do. If we do what we do to the best of our ability, we should be fine.”
If there was a weakness of this New Hampshire team, it would be their defense. They rank last in the CAA in total defense, and have the worst pass defense in the conference. The Wildcats have given up close to 270 yards passing per game and they have given up a CAA high 20 touchdowns through the air this year.
“When you have the kind of offense that we have, there is a weakness that [opponents] have,” Ambrose said. “If we find anything schematically or personnel wise, we can exploit it a little bit … They may give up a lot of yards, but they don’t give up a lot of points.”
Junior linebacker Matt Evans and senior defensive end Brian McNally are the two players Ambrose pointed out as the Wildcats’ defensive leaders.
Evans leads the CAA with 123 tackles while McNally is tied for second place in the conference with 6.5 sacks.
New Hampshire is currently on a three-game winning streak, and they have never lost to Towson since they became conference rivals in 2004.
Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm.