Tigers look to make up ground in CAA
The Tigers will return home this weekend after two consecutive road losses to face the University of Maine.
Following a loss in Baton Rouge, La., the Tigers suffered their first conference loss of the season at the hands of James Madison.
“If you go back in history, the idea of a two-game losing streak and what that means versus what it means now is entirely different,” Head Coach Rob Ambrose said. “We’ve got a bad taste in our mouth. We don’t like losing.”
The Tigers (2-3, 1-1 Colonial Athletic Association) are undefeated at home this season.
Towson and Maine are two of five teams in the CAA that currently have one conference loss.
“There’s nothing wrong with being on the road, but to play in front of the home crowd is something different,” senior All-American safety Jordan Dangerfield said. “Everybody loves playing in front of the home crowd … Whenever we get in front of the home crowd, it’s just a whole different Towson Tiger team.”
The Black Bears (2-3, 1-1 CAA) will enter Tigertown for their second consecutive road game.
Maine is looking to upset another nationally-ranked opponent after topping the University of Delaware last week.
Maine’s defense overwhelmed the Blue Hens, leading to a convincing 26-3 defeat.
“Defensively they put pressure on the quarterback unlike anybody I’ve seen so far in this league,” Ambrose said. “That will be a challenge for us. They’re really good up front, so it’s going to be a ballgame.”
Against Delaware, junior defensive lineman Michael Cole led the Black Bears’ defensive line with five of the nine sacks the team recorded on quarterback Trent Hurley.
Through five games, Maine has recorded 14 sacks. However, senior quarterback Grant Enders isn’t worried.
“I’m confident in my linemen,” Enders said. “All of our coaches put together a good game plan against them. It comes down to I have faith in the line and I know they’re going to protect me.”
In addition to a resilient pass rush, Maine also forces a lot of turnovers.
The Black Bears’ defense has snatched four interceptions and forced five fumbles this season.
“They’re a pretty good defense,” Enders said. “We’re just going to play our game and hopefully have success running and throwing on them.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the goal for Towson is simple: win the turnover battle.
“In two out of the three games we’ve lost, we turned the ball over nine times and attained no turnovers,” Ambrose said. “Defensively it’s the way we’re playing right now, hustling to the football as 11, as tough as we played JMU. That is a good sign in the growth of the defense. The thing we’re missing defensively is actually forcing more of those turnovers on the regular.”
Dangerfield is confident that Maine quarterback Marcus Wasilewski will provide the Tigers’ defense with plenty of chances to force turnovers.
“He throws them up there,” Dangerfield said. “Their receivers do a good job coming back to the ball, so we’ve got to keep our feet and just go up to the highest point and catch the ball. I’ve got a feeling that this week we’re definitely going to get a pick or two or three this week. I feel it. I’ve got a good feeling.”
Wasilewski has thrown more passes than all but two CAA quarterbacks and has tossed five interceptions.
The Tigers have six conference games remaining. Despite being handed their first conference loss only two games into CAA play, Towson has not lost hope of returning as CAA Champions.
“We definitely have got to win them all and hope other people lose at the same time,” Dangerfield said. “I think it’s going to be a nasty, weird finish in the CAA this year. We definitely have to win every game from here on out. We’ve got to win six games, but to win six games, you have to win one game.”
Kickoff at Johnny Unitas Stadium is set for 7 p.m. Saturday.