Towson's Vinson gains 364 yards in win I-AA rushing record falls as Tigers top Bucknell, 49-21

November 14, 1993|By Bill Tanton | Bill Tanton,Staff Writer

Towson State's Tony Vinson enjoyed a record-shattering day and led the Tigers to a 49-21 victory over Bucknell in a game played in the rain yesterday at Minnegan Stadium.

Vinson, the 225-pound running back who transferred from Purdue two years ago, scored four touchdowns -- two of them on 80-yard runs -- as Towson improved to 7-2. Bucknell, which had won three straight, is 4-6.

Vinson set a Division I-AA single game individual rushing record with 364 yards on 33 carries. The old record of 346 was set two weeks ago by William Arnold of Jackson State.

Vinson's 364 yards yesterday topped Towson's old team rushing record of 361 set last year against Hofstra.

"I think we should be considered for the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs if we beat Morgan State next week," said Vinson.

"We should be an attractive team to the NCAA. Our quarterback, Dan Crowley, is one of the best in the country, and I'm doing all right."

All right?

Vinson's four touchdowns moved him ahead of Dave Meggett as Towson State's all-time leading touchdown producer. Meggett,

now with the NFL's New York Giants, scored 16 touchdowns here. Vinson has 19.

This was the third time Vinson has scored four times in a game.

In the crowd of 2,109 was New York Giants general manager George Young. Young was noncommittal in assessing Vinson's pro potential except to say: "You have to remember what league he's playing in."

"I'd have to think the pros would like Tony," said Vinson's coach, Gordy Combs. "I know I like him."

Net rushing yardage for the Towson team was 403 yards.

Towson quarterback Crowley, a junior, was the other big gun in the Tigers' attack. He threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers. Crowley completed 11 of 19 for 192 yards.

The most spectacular thing about Vinson's performance was that he was able to go 80 yards twice on the same play -- the "26 counter" -- for touchdowns. Both times he had to outrun smaller defensive backs to cross the goal line.

"Once I got past the line of scrimmage, I was in a foot race one-on-one with the free safety," Vinson said. "I was worried I'd get caught on the one near the end of the game."

Towson got off to a 3-0 lead on Buddy Dunn's 22-yard field goal in the first quarter. Bucknell took a 7-3 lead in the second quarter after an 18-yard touchdown run by 144-pound freshman Rich Lemon. Lemon scored another touchdown in the third period and rushed for 133 yards.

After Vinson's first 80-yard touchdown run, Towson increased its lead to 15-7 on a 10-yard pass from Crowley to Andrew Field, which was set up when the Tigers recovered a fumble by Bucknell's Brad Bernardi at the 11.

Also in the second period, Bucknell drove to Towson's 4-yard line, only to have Lemon fumble the ball away. Towson then drove 95 yards on 10 plays, with Mark Orlando scoring on a 9-yard pass from Crowley to give the Tigers a 22-7 halftime lead.

Lemon's 4-yard touchdown run to open the third period closed the gap to 22-14, but Towson scored the next three touchdowns on Crowley's 19-yard pass to Mike Mazur and Vinson's 2- and 33-yard runs early in the final period. At that point the Tigers led, 42-14 and the game was out of reach.

Afterward Combs, Towson's second-year coach, campaigned for his team to be included in the I-AA playoffs.

"I expect us to be in the top 15 or 20 after this game and our win

a week ago at Delaware," said Combs.

"We were ranked 28th last week. If we win at Morgan Saturday, we'd finish with an 8-2 record. I think we should be considered. They invite 16 teams. Not many have offenses like ours averaging nearly 500 yards a game."

NEXT FOR TOWSON: MORGAN STATE

When: Saturday, at Hughes Stadium

Record: 7-2

Yesterday: Beat Bucknell, 49-21.

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