Towson duo dynamic in 48-6 rout

October 23, 1994|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

Dan Crowley and Mark Orlando, who have traded record-setting performances at Towson State during the past two years, put more exclamation points on their superb senior seasons yesterday.

With Division II American International playing the victim at Minnegan Stadium, Crowley and Orlando staged another offensive show in their final homecoming game, as Towson State routed the Yellow Jackets, 48-6, before 4,951.

The Tigers (4-2) broke a two-game losing streak -- their first in two years -- and prepared for next Saturday's tough game at Hofstra by rolling to a 48-0 lead, thanks to 531 yards of offense in three quarters. And Crowley and Orlando, the premier passing combination in school history, accounted for a huge chunk of the production.

Crowley completed 20 of 34 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns, and moved within 65 yards of the school's career passing yardage record. Three of those touchdowns went to Orlando.

Capitalizing on some questionable defensive strategy by American International, Orlando completed his assault on the team record book by becoming the school's career leader in receptions.

He caught 11 passes for 266 yards -- breaking his own single-game yardage record -- to claim the mark with 163 career receptions. He also became the first Towson State player to break the 3,000-yard barrier in receiving yardage.

"The best part about it was doing it before my friends and family at homecoming," said Orlando, who turns 22 today. With Kevin Howard -- the former career reception leader -- among the crowd, Orlando tied Howard's record of 161 midway through the third quarter with a 20-yard reception over the middle, then broke it a few minutes later with a 6-yard catch.

This season, Orlando has 40 catches for 925 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is averaging 23.1 yards per catch.

"The first time I thought about it [the record], I needed two [catches]. I didn't think I would have that big of an impact today," Orlando said. "I thought we'd come in and dominate the game and wouldn't need to throw. But when their defense stayed with seven people between the tackles, we took advantage of our opportunities."

"You get him the ball and watch him go," said Crowley, whose four touchdown passes increased his school record to 71. "They just weren't covering him in the first half, and we couldn't understand it. They weren't checking him at all."

The Yellow Jackets (2-5) paid for their soft man-to-man and zone coverages. Crowley and Orlando split their deep coverage on a completion over the middle that Orlando turned into an 83-yard touchdown with a great move midway through the first period. That play, which tied a Minnegan Stadium record for the longest pass completion, fueled a 21-point first quarter for the Tigers.

Orlando followed his first big play a few minutes later with a 30-yard touchdown reception that gave Towson State a 21-0 lead, and the Tigers were never threatened.

The only time Towson State did not outclass the Yellow Jackets was on its first two possessions, which resulted in an interception of Crowley and a turnover on downs.

Once Crowley teamed up with Shannon Ward on a 25-yard touchdown pass with 7:58 left in the first quarter, the Tigers were off and running. They scored on their next four possessions to take a 28-0 halftime lead, then piled on 20 more points before American International avoided a shutout.

"It was important for us to get out of the box well offensively and defensively. But I think, in the back of our minds, we were looking ahead to the Hofstra game," Towson State coach Gordy Combs said. "We sputtered a little bit at the beginning. Once we got untracked, it was no problem."

Indeed, Towson State amassed 612 yards of offense, and the Tigers' defense, led by senior linebacker Mike Arbutina (eight solo tackles), forced six turnovers and allowed only 234 yards.

Lost amid the hoopla surrounding Orlando's record-setting day was senior tailback Brian McCarty. He rushed 19 times for 125 yards, caught three passes for another 18 yards, and scored three touchdowns.

Now, the Tigers will try to lessen the impact of the two losses that have knocked them out of the Division I-AA playoffs against an outstanding Hofstra team. Towson State has beaten Hofstra once in four previous tries, and the Tigers have never beaten the Flying Dutchmen on the road.

American International .. 0 .. 0 ... 0 .. 6 .. -- .. 6

Towson State ........... 21 .. 7 .. 14 .. 6 .. -- .. 48

NEXT FOR TOWSON

Who: Hofstra.

When: Saturday, at Hempstead, N.Y.

Record: 7-0.

Yesterday: Beat Buffalo, 34-21.

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