Towson rally stuns Indiana, Pa. Down 20 in 4th, Tigers win, 35-33

November 01, 1992|By Bob Fulton | Bob Fulton,Contributing Writer

INDIANA, PENNSYLVANA — INDIANA, Pa. -- Towson State rallied from a 20-point deficit in the final 5:34 to stun Indiana, Pa., 35-33, yesterday, handing the RTC second-ranked Indians their first home loss in 26 games.

The last time the Division II Indians lost at home was a 1988 playoff game against Millersville. The last time they lost a regular-season home game was in 1986, to Towson.

"We thought all week about how we were the last team to beat them here," said quarterback Dan Crowley, who engineered the fourth-quarter uprising. "They hadn't lost at home in 30 games. ,, So, that was a goal for us all week long."

Brian McCarty finished off the Indians with a flourish, scoring his third touchdown of the afternoon on a 4-yard run with 1:06 remaining.

But he would never have been in a position to win the game had Towson State not recovered two onside kicks and a fumble in the waning minutes.

Those plays helped rip what seemed a sure victory from Indiana's grasp. The Indians led 20-0 before the first quarter had ended, and their 26th consecutive home victory seemed a certainty.

"This is a major disappointment," said Indiana coach Frank Cignetti, whose Indians dropped to 7-1. "Here's a game we had total control of. It should not have gotten out of our hands. But you have to give credit to Towson. They did an outstanding job of coming back."

And the Tigers did it without Tony Vinson, who just the week before had rushed for 264 yards. Vinson tore ligaments in his knee late in the first quarter and is likely lost for the season.

"Because of that, we had a lot of problems early offensively," said Towson coach Gordy Combs, after his team evened its record at 4-4. "When Tony went down, we had to really deviate from our whole game plan. But we went to our spread offense and got it going."

Crowley spearheaded the comeback, passing for 271 yards, 207 of them in the second half. He was nearly flawless during Towson's 22-point fourth-quarter explosion.

McCarty, who had suffered a slight concussion on the opening kickoff, scored on a 1-yard run with 5:34 remaining. Crowley connected with Kevin Howard (12 receptions) for another touchdown 91 seconds later and, after a fumble recovery by defensive tackle Tony Cox, McCarty barreled into the end zone.

When the final gun sounded, the Indians stood in disbelief. Understandable, since Indiana had won the three previous games in the series by a combined 123-10.

But in this, the final game of the series, Towson State turned the tables on the Indians.

"They always underestimate us and always think it's going to be easy," said McCarty. "But today we proved them wrong."

Towson State 0 0 13 22 -- 35

Indiana 20 0 6 7 -- 33

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