BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- At least they won the coin toss. That's about the extent of bright spots for Towson as the Tigers were thrashed by Lehigh, 55-7, yesterday before 8,059 at Goodman Stadium.
With a backdrop of colorful falling leaves on South Mountain, Towson's defense fell in record numbers against another Patriot League opponent. The Tigers are 1-11 all-time in Patriot League games and 0-6 against Lehigh all-time.
The Tigers' defense could do little as Lehigh quarterback Phil Stambaugh passed for a career-high five touchdowns and connected with 10 receivers in the opening half as the Mountain Hawks opened a 38-0 lead at halftime.
"The thing is, they have so many weapons offensively," said Towson coach Gordie Combs, whose team dropped to 3-4 overall, 1-4 in the league. "Kody [Fedorcha] is going to make a play. [Joe] Falzone is going to make a play. They distribute the ball so well."
So well that sophomore Rick Moore caught four passes for career highs of 109 yards and two touchdowns as the Tigers gave up 672 yards in total offense, breaking the record of 611 set by James Madison in 1991.
The margin of defeat tied for second worst in school history, equaling the 48-0 loss to West Chester in 1971, and the 55 points are the most allowed since a 54-10 loss to Indiana (Pa.) in 1991.
"The silver lining is that we have two weeks to prepare for our next opponent," Combs said.
"They were running a lot of clearing routes and crossing underneath where our young linebackers were taken out of the play."
Lehigh (6-0, 2-0), which was held to minus-30 yards rushing last week in a win over Columbia, was buoyed by the return of tailback Brian Baker, who missed that game after having an operation on his right hand.
Baker rushed for 120 yards on 12 carries -- including a 50-yard jaunt at the start of the second half -- and pulled in a 36-yard touchdown pass to become Lehigh's all-time reception yardage leader among running backs.
"I think the running game always starts with the offensive line, and they were able to knock us off the line," Combs said. "They executed well and have a very senior- and junior-oriented team. They don't make any mistakes."
Lehigh scored on six of its seven first-half possessions for a 38-0 lead.
Towson quarterback Kevin Smith had a rough day. He was 20-for-30 for 181 yards, but was sacked four times and left the game at the end of the first half after a hard hit by cornerback Saundrell Davison. He returned in the second half.
Junior tailback Jason Corle had 69 yards on 14 carries and caught a game-high 11 passes for 62 yards, but most of it came in the second half when Lehigh was in prevent mode.
Next for Towson
Opponent: St. Mary's (Calif.)
Site: Minnegan Stadium
When: Oct. 31, 1 p.m.
Pub Date: 10/18/98