Towson ends with bang, crushes Morgan, 42-7

November 20, 1994|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,Sun Staff Writer

It took eight weeks for Brian McCarty's sore shoulders to heal this season, and he made visiting Morgan State feel the pain yesterday.

McCarty put an exclamation point on a superb Towson State career, rushing 35 times for 237 yards and three touchdowns. Behind McCarty, the Tigers shook off Morgan State in the second half by scoring 28 unanswered points in 16 minutes to blow out the Bears, 42-7, before 2,763 at Minnegan Stadium.

The victory sent Towson State's seniors -- the school's last group of scholarship players -- home with their second straight 8-2 season. The Tigers also closed with a five-game winning streak. The Bears, who had won two of their past three games to climb out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference cellar for the first time in 10 years, finished 3-8.

And the Tigers did things differently yesterday. With Mark Orlando, the top receiver in school history, out with a broken arm, Towson State leaned on its running game.

And McCarty delivered. He went over the 1,000-yard mark, finishing the season with 1,005. He also became the school's all-time leading scorer with 34 touchdowns.

"This is the best I've felt the whole season physically. These last two games, I've felt no pain. I should have games like this every week," said McCarty, who missed the second half of last season with a separated shoulder, then jammed the other shoulder three months ago.

"This whole team has been on a mission all week," he added. "There was absolutely no way we were going to go out losing, letting them come in here and take over."

The Bears gave it a good shot. They spotted Towson State an early 14-0 lead, then came back behind quarterback Michael Moore with a 133-yard second quarter to cut the lead to 14-7 at the half.

But the game changed dramatically when Towson State senior linebacker Mike Arbutina picked off a pass that went off the hands of Bears wide receiver Otis Covington deep in Morgan State territory with nine minutes left in the third period. Three plays later, quarterback Dan Crowley rolled out and hit John Swigart with a 5-yard touchdown pass. With 7:23 to go, Towson State led 21-7.

The Tigers then stopped Morgan State at the Towson 31, before covering 69 yards in seven plays. Crowley finished the drive by freezing the Bears' defense with a pump fake, then hitting Shawn Ward in the end zone for a 26-yard score.

Morgan State fell apart after that. The Tigers intercepted Moore on the Bears' next two possessions, and cashed in with McCarty touchdown runs to close out the scoring.

The game ended on a sour note. The teams had been exchanging harsh words all day, and with 58 seconds left, about a dozen players fought at midfield. While the opposing coaching staffs scrambled to maintain control, the officials ended the game.

"It's an intense game. They came in with a lot of emotion," Towson State coach Gordy Combs said. "When we got up, they got a little frustrated, and our guys didn't back down."

Said Morgan State coach Ricky Diggs: "I'm just sorry we had to wind up a game like this, both on the scoreboard and with the controversy on the field."

The Tigers stumbled early, managing only 163 first-half yards, including 72 yards rushing on 22 attempts. They also lost tackles Eric Peterson and Rob Bundy to injuries in the first half.

Crowley wound up a brilliant career by completing 13 of 20 passes -- including his last seven in a row -- for 190 yards and three touchdowns. For his career, Crowley threw for 8,900 yards and 81 scores, both school records by far.

The defense also was outstanding again. The Tigers forced six turnovers, allowed only 102 yards in the second half, and once again was led by Arbutina. Besides his interception, Arbutina made 12 solo tackles and broke up three passes.

"It's a terrific way to send our seniors out. Sixteen guys who have stuck together through a lot of adversity and have really put a lot of energy into our program," Combs said.

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