Towson fills gaps, rushing to 33-30 victory Backups, Corle boost Tigers past Robert Morris

October 19, 1997|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Opportunity over adversity.

That's what played in the minds of backup linebackers Lamont Dumas and Chris Beaumier, who started in place of two suspended teammates. And it showed.

Behind the big plays of Dumas and Beaumier and a career day from Jason Corle, Towson came away with a 33-30 victory over Robert Morris before a homecoming crowd of 3,525 at Minnegan Stadium yesterday.

Corle had career highs of 217 yards rushing and 126 yards receiving on seven catches. He scored four touchdowns.

But Dumas and Beaumier's play proved critical after the loss of the Tigers' top two tacklers, Jim Colongo and Barrett Sullivan, who were among four players suspended because of an altercation at a local bar on Oct. 8.

Dumas had a team-high 10 tackles from his weak-side position and caused Robert Morris fits with a fumble recovery, an interception and a pass breakup. Playing in the middle, Beaumier contributed six tackles and ended the Colonials' last scoring drive with an interception at Towson's 12-yard line.

"The coaches and the other players said to us that they knew we could step up," Dumas said. "Coming in, we knew we had to have that sense of urgency. We knew we had to come through for the team."

Towson (2-4), which recently had to forfeit its win over Holy Cross because it used an ineligible player, built a two-touchdown lead in the second quarter, but then began to play sloppily. Robert Morris (4-2) scored 21 points off four Tigers turnovers and went ahead 28-27 when Nate List returned a Kevin Smith interception 28 yards for a touchdown 1: 14 into the fourth period.

The Tigers came right back with a 10-play, 66-yard drive that included nine straight running plays. Bill Hughes capped the possession with a 4-yard run as the Tigers reclaimed the lead at 33-28 with 9: 26 left in the game.

The Colonials appeared set to take back the lead after they stopped Towson on a fourth-and-inches at midfield.

Robert Morris moved the ball down to the Tigers' 25-yard line when quarterback Jake Newman, under pressure, threw over the middle. Beaumier picked off the pass with 1: 44 remaining to secure the win for the Tigers, who took a safety to run out the clock.

"When bad things happen, how you respond to them is what's most important," said Towson coach Gordy Combs, who added that the two suspended linebackers will regain their starting roles next week.

After falling behind 7-0, Towson came back to take a 27-19 advantage, with Corle providing all the Tigers' scoring with his four touchdowns. His 343 all-purpose yards fell 14 yards shy of Towson's single-game record and his four scores were one short.

Corle's 15-yard touchdown run, which came immediately after Dumas' interception in the second quarter, staked Towson to a 21-7 lead with 5: 12 left before halftime. However, Robert Morris came back to score two touchdowns in two minutes to close to 21-19.

But Corle gave the Tigers an eight-point halftime cushion when he broke a 71-yard run down the left sidelines with 2 1/2 minutes left in the half.

It was one of the worst offensive days of the season for Northeast Conference leader Robert Morris. The Colonials were out-gained 519-270 in total offense and could only crack the Towson defense for 43 second-half yards.

"This is the first game where we got beat off the line on offense and defense," said Robert Morris coach Joe Walton, who coached the New York Jets from 1983 to 1989. "When you don't pass well, don't block and don't catch, you're not going to win ballgames."

Next for Towson

Opponent: Lafayette

Site: Fisher Field, Easton, Pa.

When: Saturday, 1: 30 p.m.

Record: 1-6

Yesterday: Lost to Cornell, 41-34, in 2OT

Pub Date: 10/19/97

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