Towson fakes itself out, loses to Fordham, 12-7 Botched field-goal play, blocked punt doom Tigers

November 02, 1997|By Joe Dibari | Joe Dibari,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

NEW YORK -- Towson University coach Gordy Combs and Fordham coach Nick Quartaro knew the Patriot League game between their teams would come down to the unexpected. Especially since they were playing in a downpour yesterday at Jack Coffey Field.

Unfortunately for Combs, it was his team that ended up on the wrong end of the unforeseen, and the Tigers lost another game.

First, a blocked punt resulted in a Fordham touchdown and then a failed fake field-goal attempt late in the game took away a potential score for Towson. The result of the two, combined with the Tigers' inability to take advantage of quality field position, was a 12-7 victory for the Rams, before a wet crowd of 721.

"The weather really took us out of our passing game because you just couldn't throw the football," said Combs, whose team totaled just 73 yards on 14 attempts through the air. "The conditions deteriorated as the game went on and it made it very hard to move the football. They could key on our running game, which makes it difficult."

After Fordham (3-6, 3-2) had claimed the lead, 12-7, on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Steve O'Hare to Joe McDermott to close out the third quarter, Towson responded by marching 71 yards on 12 plays to the Rams' 8-yard line.

But on third-and-three from the 8, running back Jason Corle was thrown for a 1-yard loss. With Towson's drive already having eaten 7 minutes, 31 seconds of the final quarter, the Tigers (2-6, 0-4) lined up for a field goal, but went with a fake instead.

However, holder Jabari Garrett's pass to Clint Carpenter fell incomplete after a bad snap, and the visitors' deficit remained five.

"The snap was off to the holder's right and he never really got a good grip on the ball," Combs said. "With the conditions today, that was a tough play to make, but we thought we had a chance."

Quartaro said he had a feeling that Towson would try something, even though there still was more than seven minutes remaining.

"We weren't really surprised by it because we know when we heard the forecast to expect the unexpected," said Quartaro, whose team got its third Patriot League victory, a school record. "We knew the winning team would have to manufacture points, which is what we did with the blocked punt."

It was Fordham's block of Ben Gossard punt's (the first of two on the day) that allowed the Rams to cut their deficit to 7-6 at halftime.

The block came after Towson was forced to punt from its 17 after failing on its first drive of the second quarter.

A bevy of Rams defenders burst through and smothered the kick, then Steve Peck scooped it up at the 10 and ran it in for the Rams.

"We thought we had a pretty good chance to block it and we took the gamble," Quartaro said. "It worked exactly as we drew it up on the board. The players responded exactly as we wanted to."

After the score, the Rams were penalized for excessive celebrating and Dan Lofrese's extra-point attempt from the Towson 18 was wide left.

Towson had used a 20-yard touchdown run by Corle (39 carries, 106 yards) to take a 7-0 lead after one quarter.

"[Corle] is a very good running back, but our guys up front did a great job of closing the gaps on him and tying up their linemen so that we could get a bead on him," said Fordham linebacker Jack Pieracini.

Next for Towson

Opponent: Colgate

Site: Andy Kerr Stadium, Hamilton, N.Y.

When: Saturday, 12: 30 p.m.

Record: 5-3

4( Yesterday: Defeated Holy Cross, 42-7

Pub Date: 11/02/97

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