Towson's win: don't blame refs COLLEGES

November 11, 1993|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Staff Writer

Although Delaware football coach Tubby Raymond apparently thought so, the Towson State Tigers don't need to send thank-you notes to any officials for helping them beat the 14th-ranked Blue Hens on Saturday, giving second-year coach Gordy Combs his sweetest victory.

Raymond complained bitterly about an excessive celebration penalty called on the Blue Hens after Keita Malloy's 46-yard touchdown catch had given them a 30-26 lead with 2:22 left in the game. That forced Delaware to kick off from its 20, and it helped the Tigers start a winning drive from their 40.

"That penalty cost us the game," Raymond said.

Really? What about Delaware's defense? The one that allowed 477 yards, forced one punt and stopped the Tigers once in six fourth-down situations. The one that let running back Tony Vinson, quarterback Dan Crowley and wide receiver Mark Orlando do as they pleased. The one that failed to prevent the Tigers from driving 60 yards with the game on the line.

It was a delicious turnaround for Towson State. Three weeks after losing to Howard on the game's final play, the Tigers beat the Blue Hens on their last play, a 1-yard run by Vinson with 10 seconds left that gave them a 32-30 victory.

And a puzzling decision by Raymond in the second quarter probably affected the outcome more than any penalty flag did. With the Blue Hens leading 10-7 early in the quarter, Raymond pulled starting quarterback Keith Langan -- filling in for injured senior Dale Fry -- for backup Leo Hamlett.

"We wanted to give Leo a look. We don't have second-stringers here. We have two guys vying for the job," Raymond said.

Semantics aside, Hamlett struck out in the second quarter. Under him, the Blue Hens punted, failed to convert a fourth-down chance and yielded an interception that cost them a field-goal attempt shortly before halftime.

Meanwhile, Towson State regrouped after committing three turnovers to take a 13-10 lead at halftime. Langan returned in the second half to engineer three consecutive scoring drives, two of them ending with his touchdown passes.

Maybe Combs should send Raymond that thank-you note.

Volleying for history

Towson State's volleyball team has a chance to make history this weekend. The Tigers, who have not won a conference championship in nine years, are seeking their first Big South title in the conference tournament at Winthrop University.

The Tigers are top-seeded for the first time since joining the Big South, and if they win the tournament, they automatically will advance to the 48-team, NCAA Division I tournament that begins Dec. 1.

The Tigers ended the regular season 28-8, one win shy of the school record. And they may have the best-balanced team in the league.

Start with their defense. The Tigers lead NCAA Division I with 21.5 digs per game. Senior Kelli Scott (Perry Hall), who leads the team with 451, sets the tone in that area.

Offensively, junior setter Connie Blades is the key. A candidate for Big South Player of the Year honors, she leads the league with 10.3 assists. And Scott, Danette Johnson (South Carroll) and Christy Hutson (Glen Burnie), all of whom average nearly three kills, have recovered from ankle injuries.

Coppin State sweep

The cross country teams at Coppin State had a banner weekend. The men's and women's teams won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships in Greensboro, N.C.

Courtney Bennett won his second MEAC title in three years by completing the 6.2-mile course in 30 minutes, 23 seconds. The Eagles had four other runners in the top 10 -- Sam Willoughby (sixth), Euan Hinds (seventh), Dave Loobie (eighth) and Courtney Payne (10th), as Coppin State scored 32 points, beating UMES by 66 points. Nicholas Eugene, last year's MEAC champ, missed a marker late in the race and did not finish.

The women's team had a similarly easy time, capturing five of the top six spots to finish 71 points ahead of Florida A&M. Annette Williams won the 3.1-mile race in a time of 19:35. Diana Pitts was second in 20:12.

Loyola NCAA game is Sunday

The first-round NCAA Division I men's soccer tournament game between Loyola and James Madison will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday at Curley Field.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students, senior citizens and children under 12. Tickets will be on sale today and tomorrow from noon to 1 p.m. at the Loyola box office, or they can be charged by phone at (410) 617-2547. The box office opens 90 minutes before game time.

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