HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- When Hofstra beat Towson State, 40-12, last year, Towson coach Gordy Combs pointed to it as the loss that eventually cost the Tigers a I-AA playoff bid.
So for Towson, its 24-21 victory over the Flying Dutchmen at Hofstra Stadium last night was not merely payback, but poetic justice. Because the victory almost surely ended Hofstra's run at the I-AA playoffs.
Hofstra (7-1) didn't go down without a fight, however. The Flying Dutchmen scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns in a span of 2:31 to pull within 24-21. However, after Severin Cornelius' second touchdown run, a 6-yarder with 7:38 left, Towson's Marco Calise blocked David Ettinger's point-after attempt. That proved costly to Hostra.
The Flying Dutchmen could not play for the tie; when they reached the Towson 5 in the final two minutes, they needed a touchdown. But two runs lost two yards, and then Carlos Garay passed over the middle, looking for a wide-open Michael Wright in the end zone. But the pass was a bit high, and Wright couldn't hold on. Garay's pass on fourth down was incomplete.
"It was the biggest game of my career," said Towsoquarterback Dan Crowley, who completed 18 of 35 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns. He also set the Tigers' career passing yardage record at 8,101. "[Last year] they took the playoffs right out of our hands. This was the biggest payback. They couldn't really afford a loss with the schedule they've got."
Hofstra limited wide receiver Mark Orlando to three receptions for 24 yards, but was instead burned by Amadi Eze, who caught five passes for 96 yards and a touchdown, and Shawn Ward, whose only catch was for an 80-yard score.
The Tigers' victory was no fluke. Towson (5-2) led, 14-7, at halftime, the first time this season the Flying Dutchmen had trailed at intermission. And Towson didn't allow the Dutchmen to reverse the momentum in the third quarter.
Towson's defense forced Hofstra into a three-and-out on its first second-half possession. After a short punt, Towson took over at the Hofstra 47, and converted on a 19-yard field goal by George Perdikakis.
Hofstra then moved from its 25 to the Towson 39 before stalling Eric Cross' punt went into the end zone when Pat Shanahan was unable to down it inside the 5. The oversight proved costly when, two plays later, Crowley hit Ward with an 80-yard scoring pass for a 24-7 lead.
Hofstra finally answered early in the fourth period as the Dutchmen went on a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped by Cornelius' 2-yard run.
Towson State 0 14 10 0 -- 24
Hofstra .. ..0 7 0 14 -- 21
NEXT FOR TOWSON
Who: Kutztown State.
When: Next Saturday, at Minnegan Stadium.
Today's opponent: Shippensburg State.