TU preps for Stony Brook
Towson (4-0) will begin its Colonial Athletic Association season as the reigning two-time conference champions on Saturday, when it travels to New York to face the Stony Brook Seawolves (1-2).
The No. 3 Tigers, who are off to their best start since 1986, are looking to keep their eight-game win streak dating back to last season alive. The Seawolves, who joined the conference this year, are seeking to avenge a 35-6 loss to Villanova last week.
Towson carries with it the No. 6 defense in the FCS, allowing opponents only 275.3 yards a game. It ranks higher in rush defense, with 212 total rushing yards allowed and a 53.8 yards against per game number, good for third in the FCS.
Stony Brook will attempt to run on the Towson defense with an attack that has totaled 380 yards on the ground this season. Led by running back Marcus Coker, who may miss the game due to injury, Stony Brook has amassed 126.7 yards per game rushing and 3.3 yards per carry.
The Seawolves may look to their passing game for success on Saturday, as they have outgained opponents 765-584 in the air this season. Quarterback Lyle Negron will head the passing attack that averages 255 yards per game and has tallied four touchdowns total.
Towson’s pass defense has allowed 886 pass yards this season on 159 attempts and is positioned 19th overall in team passing efficiency defense.
“They have one of the best wide-outs in the league, an extremely good quarterback and a solid offensive line and that’s equated to some really sexy passing stats for them,” Head Coach Rob Ambrose said. “As many yards as we gave up last week, I was also encouraged by how many stats we had.”
Negron has only been sacked five times on the year, but Towson has gotten to opposing quarterbacks 17 times so far. The defense recorded six sacks in last week’s game.
On the other side of the ball, the Tigers have outscored opponents 166-49 on the season. They have averaged 41.5 points per game, including two 49-7 score lines, while the Seawolves have scored 53 points on the season.
Junior running back Terrance West highlights a Towson rushing attack that has totaled 220.8 yards per game and 17 touchdowns to go with it. Towson has outrushed opponents 878-212 on the season and has yet to give up a rushing touchdown.
Towson freshman running back Darius Victor made his debut last week in the form of a two touchdown performance and made himself a name to watch against Stony Brook. Victor was also named CAA Rookie of the Week for his performance.
“We had a plan for [Victor] coming out of camp that his small injury put a pause on,” Ambrose said. “He has a role here and with [Sterlin Phifer] out, it has expanded.”
Victor and West will be lining up against a Seawolves rush defense that has allowed opponents 155.3 rush yards per game.
In their season opener, the Seawolves held CAA foe Rhode Island to 67 yards on the ground en route to a 24-0 win. Stony Brook has held opponents to 194.7 passing yard per game, but senior quarterback Peter Athens has totaled 221.2 in the same respect.
An important aspect of the game that Ambrose admits his team has struggled in were penalties. The Tigers has been penalized 26 times this season, compared to the Seawolves 22 penalties.
“There are always opportunities to score, but in games like these turnovers and penalties are what get you,” Ambrose said. “It’s not the big plays, it’s the number of mistakes and who limits them consistently.”
Ambrose said that he is not worried about the added pressure of being defending CAA champs.
“There’s not a guy in that locker room that gives a damn about last year other than the fact that we didn’t get in [the FCS playoffs],” Ambrose said. “We have one game and that’s Stony Brook, and in truth, we have one more play.”
Kickoff at Stony Brook is set for 6 p.m.