Towson State football coach Phil Albert could double for th man who was told to cheer up, things could be worse; so he cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse.
During Saturday night's 21-14 loss to James Madison -- the winless Tigers' sixth straight defeat -- freshman standout Aaron Bates went down with a torn ligament in his left knee. The season-ending knee injury was the fifth for Towson this year.
Bates, a redshirt freshman safety out of Wilde Lake High School, was the second-leading tackler on the team (63), the leader in pass breakups (five) and the co-leader in interceptions (two).
Aside from Bates, starters John O'Neill (fullback) and Todd Katosvich (defensive tackle), and reserves Matt Geis (linebacker) and Will Otto (linebacker) also have been lost for the season.
Veterans Mike Locksley and Tom Norris will vie for Bates' starting role. Locksley, a junior, has been a part of the rotation system among four cornerbacks, and Norris has seen limited duty as Bates' backup.
Senior quarterback Chris Goetz went by another milestone against the Dukes, when he completed 16 of 28 passes for 157 yards and one touchdown. The yardage increased his career total to 6,813, a career state collegiate record.
The effort dropped Jim Margraff (Johns Hopkins) into second place. Margraff, head coach at Johns Hopkins, passed for 6,669 yards during 1978-81.
* MORGAN STATE: Nathan Ayers' 62 yards on 24 carries Saturday against Virginia Union helped the Bears better their season's single-game total offense mark for the second straight week, lifting it to 189 yards. Ayers scored the game's first touchdown on a 9-yard run, but Virginia Union scored 48 unanswered points to win, 48-15. He also had a 62-yard touchdown run that was called back because of a penalty.
Quarterback Orlando Persell rushed for 15 yards and passed fo 78 yards (6-for-13). Included was a 15-yard touchdown pass to Sean Nelson and a two-point conversion pass to Walter Bland.
Two local athletes, Randallstown's James Dozier (eight tackles, three sacks) and Forest Park's James Pitt (seven tackles, 1 1/2 sacks in his first start), were Morgan's defensive leaders. Dozier, a senior linebacker, has 11 sacks for the season.
* JOHNS HOPKINS: Tight end Mike Hallenbeck, out since the first day of preseason, and running back Paul Ferreri, who missed the Ursinus game the week before, played key roles in the Blue Jays' 28-7 win over Muhlenberg. Hallenbeck (6 feet 1, 205 pounds) caught two passes for 47 yards and blocked well. Ferreri, the Centennial Conference scoring leader (26 points), did not start against Muhlenberg, but finished with 55 yards on 17 carries
* FROSTBURG STATE: Sophomore Ricky Green, who came of the bench against St. Francis, Pa., Saturday, has earned a starting position at cornerback for this week's game against Bridgewater. The presence of Green (5-6, 146) and Chandler Ray (5-9, 148) give the Bobcats one of the smallest sets of starting cornerbacks in college football.