Terrance West leads Towson to victory over Holy Cross
Towson avoided a letdown and expanded its six-game win streak that dates back to last season with a 49-7 win over the Holy Cross Crusaders Saturday in Worcester, Ma.
The streak is tied for the second-longest in the FCS, behind reigning two-time national champion North Dakota State.
Head Coach Rob Ambrose praised his team’s ability to keep its streak alive after such a vital win Aug. 29 over the University of Connecticut.
“Coming up here was almost a lose-lose situation for us because even if we won, we may not have won by enough,” Ambrose said. “Holy Cross gave us the best they had, but we have some very good football players that are very mature and we are 2-0.”
Junior running back Terrance West, who tallied 121 yards and two touchdowns in the game, set Towson’s all-time career rushing touchdown record. He now has 48 touchdowns, passing Jason Corle’s 47, in just 23 games played.
“The guys that he is surpassing are guys that I’ve played with and guys that I’ve coached so it’s pretty nice to see him have that success,” Ambrose said. “He has really matured as a player and breaking these records speaks well to his success. It also speaks to the men in front of him. When they are working together it’s a fun thing to watch.”
Towson did not waste any time producing offense, as West broke out for a 44-yard run on its second offensive play. West’s run was part of a 10-play, 90-yard drive that ended with senior quarterback Peter Athens’s 16-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end James Oboh.
“We are a pretty tough offense and we carry that attitude with us,” Ambrose said. “Those long runs are a little disheartening for a defense. Our running game is a good weapon and it will serve us well.”
The Crusaders would respond in the next drive after the kickoff landed out of bounds of their 35-yard line. Junior quarterback Ryan Laughlin, who replaced injured starter Steven Edler, tied the game up on the fifth play of the drive with a 31-yard touchdown pass to senior Mike Fess with 6:58 in the first quarter.
Field position was favorable for Holy Cross, whose average starting field position was its 30-yard line.
Towson took just over a minute to recapture the lead, as Athens connected with senior wide receiver Leon Kinnard for 33 yards and a touchdown with 5:53 remaining in the quarter. Kinnard recorded four catches for 59 yards in the game.
Athens went 17-for-23 in the game, making him 30-for-43 on the season, a 69.8% completion percentage. His two passing touchdowns moved his total to three on the season, adding on a rushing touchdown in the second half as well.
“I think Peter made great strides from game one to two,” Ambrose said. “You want to see him throw and I think we saw that today. It wasn’t just managing the game; he was a part of some very explosive plays.”
The Crusaders took the next drive to the Tigers’ 25-yard line, but were unable to convert on the opportunity. With a fourth-and-one, Laughlin threw incomplete to running back Michael O’Dwyer to force the turnover on downs.
Holy Cross reached the Towson 30-yard line four times in the game, but the away team forced the turnover on downs and added two interceptions.
“We were fantastic in the red zone and the name of the game is to score points,” Ambrose said. “That is a sign of a good football team.”
After the teams traded punts and the Tigers missed a field goal attempt, they got the ball at the 50-yard line with 8:33 in the half.
Athens came up big again for Towson, finding senior wide receiver Spencer Wilkins for 40 yards. That set up a two-yard touchdown run from West, giving Towson a 21-7 lead.
West broke the 100-yard rushing mark in the first half alone.
Towson outrushed Holy Cross 286 to 114 in the game and won the passing battle 239 to 149. Nine different Towson players carried the ball.
The Crusaders drove down to the Tigers’ 13-yard before halftime, trying to cut the deficit to a touchdown. However, Laughlin’s pass found junior defensive back Thomas Bradley, who returned it for a touchdown, pushing the lead to 28-7 with less than two minutes remaining in the half.
Towson began the second half much like it did the first, scoring on a long drive. Athens highlighted the drive that ended with a West touchdown run; he notched 15 yards rushing and added 57 yards passing to his total.
Down 35-7, Laughlin led the team 70 yards to the Towson two-yard line, but failed to score yet again.
This time, it was senior linebacker Monte Gaddis who halted the Crusaders’ momentum with a key interception. Gaddis also finished with five tackles in the game.
The Tigers took the next drive 96 yards in just 2:20, as Athens completed a 36-yard pass to Wilkns and finished it off with a 24-yard touchdown run.
Towson will come back home to host Delaware State in its first home game of the year Saturday at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.