Towson State errors lead to 44-7 rout by Bucknell Bison defenders squelch Tigers' opportunities, force six turnovers

September 15, 1996|By Chris Courogen | Chris Courogen,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Chances lost and opportunities squandered. That was the theme of Towson State's 44-7 loss to Bucknell yesterday.

With the score tied at 7 midway through the second quarter, the Tigers twice got the ball inside the Bucknell 40-yard line. Both times they came up empty, and Bucknell went on to score 37 unanswered points, turning a close game into a rout.

Towson's first chance came after Brad Friedman ran a Bucknell punt back 51 yards to set up the Tigers at the Bison 26. Four plays later, George Perdikakis' 42-yard field-goal try was blocked.

Two plays later, Towson had the ball at the Bucknell 35, after a fumble recovery by Greg Crawford. Again the Bucknell defense stiffened, forcing Towson into a fourth-and-three situation.

This time Towson went for the first down, with Joseph Lee tossing a short pass to fullback Bill Hughes. Bison cornerback Willie Jackson stopped Hughes short of the first down, giving the ball back to Bucknell.

On the next play, Bison wide receiver Ardie Kissinger beat Towson cornerback Brad Friedman down the right sideline for a 74-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Jim Fox, giving Bucknell the lead for good.

"We had the ball down around their 20 two times and we just couldn't move the football," Tigers coach Gordie Combs said. "We didn't execute real well."

While Towson was squandering opportunities, Bucknell was taking advantage of its chances.

With regular quarterback Kevin Smith sitting out a one-game suspension because of an unspecified violation of athletic department rules, Lee, a redshirt freshman, started for Towson.

Combs decided to put his defense on the field first, electing to kick off to start the game after Bucknell won the toss and deferred its choice.

That gave Bucknell the ball to start the second half, and when Terrence Parham took the second-half kickoff back 99 yards for Bucknell's third touchdown, the rout was on.

Towson never recovered. The Tigers turned the ball over five times in the second half, leading to 24 more Bucknell points.

Combs was quick to credit Bucknell's defense, which held Towson to 40 yards rushing and forced six Tigers turnovers.

"They played well defensively. They did the things they needed to do," Combs said. "We just didn't do the things we needed to do when we had the opportunity."

Next for Towson

Opponent: Robert Morris

Site: Moon Stadium, Coraopolis, Pa.

When: Saturday, 1: 30 p.m.

Record: 2-0

Yesterday: Beat Butler, 38-0.

Pub Date: 9/15/96

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