Towson State fought Youngstown State, the nation's fourth-ranked Division I-AA team, for 60 strong minutes yesterday before losing, 13-0, at Minnegan Stadium on a cold, windy, rainy day.
Youngstown State (10-0) was ready to be had yesterday.
"When we woke up this morning and looked out the window and saw a monsoon, it didn't help us get mentally ready to play," said Youngstown State coach Jim Tressel. "I think we've been reading our press clippings. But you have to give Towson State credit. They're playing with a lot of emotion these days, trying to save their program. I see no reason why they shouldn't be able to have a good Division I-AA program in a beautiful area like this and at the second-largest school in the state of Maryland."
Tressel also said: "I don't think people realize how important a good football program is to the area. Our football program has done wonders for the city of Youngstown."
An alumni group at Towson State is attempting to raise $85,000 by Dec. 3 when the school's Intercollegiate Athletic Committee takes a recommendation on the future of the football program to the University Senate.
Towson State (1-9) junior linebacker Jim Dutton said yesterday that all the talk about possibly suspending the football program has gotten to the underclassmen on the team. "A lot of the freshmen and sophomores are talking about where they will transfer if the program folds," said Dutton. "That's losing focus. The upperclassmen like me who are pretty much stuck here no matter what are keeping our minds on the game as much as possible."
Dutton said yesterday's setback to the powerful Penguins was a moral victory, especially for the defense, and will lead to a strong showing next Saturday when Towson State ends the season at home against Northeastern at 1:30 p.m.
"Everybody will be pumped up for the last game against a team [1-9] that has a similar record to ours," said Dutton. "We hope to go out and win that one and then sit back and wait for Dec. 3."
Towson State had three golden opportunities to score touchdowns yesterday but could never push the ball across the goal line because of a mistake here or a player slipping on the wet turf there.
In the first quarter, Towson State drove to the Youngstown 19-yard line but was driven back to the 29 when quarterback Chris Goetz was sacked for a 10-yard loss by outside linebacker Ron Brown.
The Tigers wound up punting, giving Youngstown State an opportunity to go on a seven-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Archie Herring running 1 yard for a touchdown.