Towson grounds out win in opener Tigers' big offensive line wears down Butler, 14-3

September 08, 1996|By Tony Hamilton | Tony Hamilton,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

INDIANAPOLIS -- Towson State coach Gordy Combs had to look to the first game of 1996 with a positive attitude. After all, a year ago his Tigers beat up on this year's season-opening opponent, the Butler Bulldogs, 34-3.

A year later, things haven't changed. Despite a tough defensive effort by Butler, Towson State's exceptional size on the offensive line proved to be too much for the Bulldogs, and the Tigers prevailed, 14-3.

Led by junior Maurice Sydnor, who had 173 yards on 25 carries, Towson State (1-0) rolled up a total of 315 yards on the ground. Sydnor said this was the game plan coming in.

"Being able to run the ball like that is a big push," Sydnor said. "You have to be able to run when you can't pass, and I think we were able to do that today."

Combs agreed: "Our game plan was to run because we have an excellent offensive line with four returning starters. Butler's defense got tired late in the third quarter, and from there we just ran the football and wore them down."

Sydnor's biggest gainer was a 65-yard run down the Towson sideline from the Butler 9-yard line, but it led to no points. Kicker George Perdikakis missed a 35-yard field-goal try, one of two misses that day.

The Tigers squandered many scoring opportunities. Besides the two missed field goals, Towson had a potential 12-yard touchdown pass that was called back by an illegal-procedure penalty.

The Tigers scored first in the second quarter. Brad Friedman intercepted Butler quarterback Eli Stoddard at the Bulldogs' 40, which set up an eight-play drive that ended on fullback Bill Hughes' 1-yard dive.

Butler kicker Shawn Wood accounted for the Bulldogs' only points of the day on a 29-yard field goal with 48 seconds left in the first half. Wood also punted eight times for an average of 47.9 yards. Three of his punts traveled 50 yards or more.

Towson extended its lead to 14-3 on an 8-yard touchdown run by Kevyn Dodson with 9: 01 left in the game. That score was set up by quarterback Kevin Smith's 16-yard scramble on third-and-six from Butler's 45.

Towson won the time-of-possession battle by 14 minutes.

Next for Towson

Opponent: Bucknell

Site: Christy Mathewson Memorial Stadium, Lewisburg, Pa.

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Record: 0-0

Pub Date: 9/08/96

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