TU aims to rebound
Coming off its first loss of the season, No. 7 Towson will travel to Albany, N.Y. on Saturday to face the Great Danes for the first time as a Colonial Athletic Association opponent.
The Tigers (6-1, 2-1 CAA) are in unfamiliar territory following their loss to then No. 15 Villanova last Saturday.
The team last played after a loss on Oct. 27, 2012, where they knocked off the Wildcats in Philadelphia, 49-35.
“We are really good when we have a chip on our shoulder and when we have to come from behind and fight adversity,” Head Coach Rob Ambrose said. “What we are growing to learn as a program is that instead of having to push the big guy off the mountain, we are the big guy and we need to defend our land instead of take it from someone else.”
Towson has had to fight back after slow starts in the last three games, where it has been outscored 55-10 in the first quarter of those games.
“We are a really good defense and we have talent here,” junior cornerback Tye Smith said. “We just need to come out and start faster.”
Towson’s defense allowed 269 yards on the ground to Villanova last week, which is over 150 yards higher than its season average of 113.6.
However, the defense still stands 19th in the FCS in stopping the run.
The Tigers will line up against a Great Dane (1-6, 0-3 CAA) rushing attack that features Omar Osbourne, who has rushed for 800 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.
Unlike the last two quarterbacks that the Tigers have faced, Great Dane quarterback Will Fiacchi does not play a large role in the team’s rushing offense.
Instead, Fiacchi has thrown for 1,494 yards and six touchdowns on the season. However, he has thrown five interceptions as well.
“[We will] after him and try to change his release points and make him uncomfortable in the pocket,” Ambrose said. “He’s a very talented player, but I think our guys are excited to actually get after a guy who stays in the pocket.”
Towson’s defense has intercepted opposing quarterbacks eight times this season and has forced the same amount of fumbles.
However, it lost the turnover battle against Villanova 5-2 last Saturday.
“I’m not as concerned about the ‘fluky’ [turnovers], that’s just the bounce of the ball and you have to deal with that” Ambrose said. “But what I am concerned about are the [turnovers] that you can control. Ball security was not a conversation [at practice]. It was a sledgehammer.”
Albany won the turnover battle 4-1 in its only win against Colgate earlier this season, but it has committed nine turnovers outside of that game.
Turnovers could be a deciding factor in the game, so both teams will look to win that battle.
The Great Dane defense has allowed only forced one interception on the season and averages 449.4 yards allowed. They ranks 92nd in rush defense, with 201.7 rush yards allowed per game.
Junior running back Terrance West will look to rebound against Albany’s defense after recording 61 rush yards against Villanova.
Still, he ranks third in the FCS in rushing yards with 957 on the year.
The battle between West and Osbourne might be prevalent in the game, as the two running backs have combined for 26 touchdowns this season.
Towson will look to improve its all-time record against Albany to 3-2 on Saturday.
Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.