(Kick)off and running: Towson rolls, 52-14 Sydnor's return sparks 3rd victory

September 26, 1993|By Bob Clark | Bob Clark,Contributing Writer

Towson State's best start to a season at the Division I-AA level continued at Minnegan Stadium yesterday with help from an unlikely source.

In just 14 seconds, 22-year-old freshman Maurice Sydnor, a four-year Army veteran, took the opening kickoff and raced 86 yards for a touchdown to start the Tigers (3-0) on their way to a 52-14 romp over Charleston Southern.

Sydnor, who was discharged from the Army on Friday, had used accumulated leave to enroll at Towson and play in the Tigers' first two games. He wasted no time celebrating his big weekend.

"The ball came to me, and I looked for the cutback," said Sydnor, a 5-foot-7, 155-pound player from Allen, Texas, who most recently played eight-man football in the Army for Walter Reed Medical Center. "The blocks were set up perfectly for me."

Towson State coach Gordy Combs said he had been leery as to how the Tigers would approach the game against the Buccaneers (1-3), who are in their first season in Division I-AA and had been unimpressive so far. He pointed to Sydnor's run as getting things going in the right direction. "He made a great play," Combs said. "When he cut back it was all over."

Tiger quarterback Dan Crowley agreed. "We didn't want to come out against this team and slouch around," he said. "Maurice started it off for us."

Sydnor's score got the Tigers rolling toward 46 points in the first half, but not before Towson's offense stalled on its first possession, which ended with a missed field goal attempt by Buddy Dunn.

Towson State, however, scored on its next five possessions and added a seventh touchdown with just 10 seconds to play in the half, after an interception by Rob Phillips.

During the offensive show Crowley completed 9 of 13 passes for 165 yards and four touchdowns -- including the first two receptions and touchdowns in the career of junior Andy Fields. Mark Orlando (four receptions for 77 yards) and Brian Roberts also caught passes from Crowley in the first quarter that put Towson ahead 19-0.

Backup quarterback Matt Brimigion came into the game late in the first quarter and kept the momentum going by directing a Tiger drive that culminated with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Tony Hill early in the second quarter.

"We felt coming into the game that we could have thrown the ball as much as we wanted," Combs said. "We just tried to stay away from negative thoughts in our preparation. We wanted to play to our level, and I think we did."

When Towson needed to move on the ground, Tony Vinson was more than adequate, rushing for 100 yards and one touchdown before halftime on 15 carries. He finished with 161 yards on 20 rushes.

The 46 points in the first half was the highest total for the Tigers in a game since a 47-7 win over New Haven in 1986. Towson had not kept a record for most points in a half. The Tigers' record for points scored in a game is 69 against Albany (N.Y.) State, set in 1970.

In the second half, Towson scored just once, on an 11-yard third-quarter run by Brian McCarty, as Combs substituted freely. Rain, which began early in the second quarter, caused some sloppy play.

"I think we could have scored at will against them," Combs said. "But we didn't want to have one of our regulars injured in a situation like that. We didn't want to go to Connecticut [next Saturday] without one of the bullets in our gun."

The Tigers' 3-0 start is their best since the 1986 season -- their last in Division II -- when they started with six victories.



When: Saturday, at Storrs, Conn.

Record: 3-1

Yesterday: Defeated Yale, 25-14

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