Towson hammered by New Haven, 55-27

November 04, 1990|By John W. Stewart

Considering the circumstances on campus, the game went about as well as Towson State might have expected.

With the football program in danger of being eliminated, it's a wonder the players could muster any kind of an effort.

In the end, New Haven scored more than 50 points for the fourth time this season in handling the Tigers, 55-27. The Chargers' 55 points came within one point of Towson State's record for points allowed, a number achieved in two previous losses.

Those losses never had the extenuating circumstances this one had, however.

New Haven (7-2), backed by the No. 1 offense in Division II, popped two quick scores, led 28-14 at the half, and blew the game open with three third-quarter touchdowns.

The durations of the first quarter (64 minutes) and the first half (1 hour, 59 minutes) may have set college football records for time. During the half, 20 penalties were issued for 220 yards and a fight resulted in three ejections for each side.

Towson State (1-8) lost three starters, center Mike Gunthrop, linebacker Gary Worthington, and wide receiver Dewey Barnes, and tailback Jarrett Grier was excused a few minutes later.

For the game, the Tigers had a school-record 17 penalties. The two teams combined for 29 penalties for 314 yards.

This has been unquestionably the toughest week in Towson State coach Phil Albert's career. The game, before a homecoming crowd of 3,898, only compounded the problem.

"The scenario is the opposite of when we were winning and we seemed to get every bounce, every call," Albert said. "Now, we're losing, and every bounce, every call we enjoyed is going the other way.

"Officials are the integrity of the game and you don't want to show them up, but sometimes they mess up and we're stuck with the consequences. When a team isn't going well, they expect you to hold or some such.

"One time, we had first-and-goal and wound up punting. It's frustrating; it takes the wind out of our sails. And when you are in those situations, the plays become magnified by when they happen."

Sophomore defensive lineman Doug Irvin probably spoke for the team when he said: "In that first quarter, we seemed flat. We tried to pick it up, but before we knew it, they shoved the ball down our throats."

A.J. Livingston caught a pass for one touchdown and ran for three others, and quarterback Jay McLucas threw for three touchdowns to lead New Haven.

Towson State had a few bright spots, however, as sophomore Kevin Howard caught 10 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns; receiver Tony Hill had his first extended duty and caught four passes for 83 yards and a touchdown; and reliable Robbie Jackson ran for 43 yards, caught four passes for 57 yards, and returned five kickoffs for 93 yards.

On defense, linebacker James Dutton had 14 tackles.

In addition to the ejections, the Tigers lost linebacker Jared Freeze (mild concussion) for the year. Howard strained a shoulder; and Julian Blair sprained an ankle in pre-game warm-ups and did not play.

New Haven, No. 19 in Division II, started as though it would score on practically every series.

With 13:09 remaining in the first quarter, McLucas capped an 80-yard drive with an 8-yard pass to Pierre Fils for the touchdown.

The next series ended at the Tigers 5-yard line when Fils fumbled a pass reception and Dustin Harper recovered for Towson State.

But the visitors came right back, going 14 yards in two plays after Brad Pyne intercepted a pass at the 20 and returned it 6 yards. Livingston ran 7 yards for the touchdown.

Towson State got on the board when sophomore wide receiver Howard, a slender 6-footer, turned a 20-yard pass from Chris Goetz into a 59-yard touchdown play.

But New Haven offset the score with a 24-yard run by Dan Schwab -- who doubled as a defensive back -- off of a reverse on the first play of the second quarter.

Livingston broke six tackles en route to a 40-yard touchdown run, and the Tigers bounced back with a seven-play, 73-yard drive culminated by Robbie Jackson's 21-yard run, as he stepped out of the grasp of two defenders at the 10.

Goetz drove the Tigers 59 yards with four pass completions in the final 1:28, the last one to Ken Weeks for a first down at the 3 with 11 seconds left. But the scoring bid ended at the 1 when Jackson was stopped shy of the goal line.

The three-touchdown blitz in the third quarter did the rest.

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