Towson gives Fordham the boot on Kulic's FG

Kick with 26 seconds left rallies Tigers to 25-23 win

College Football

October 24, 1999|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

For a team with an 0-6 record, Fordham gave Towson all it could handle yesterday, out-passing and out-gaining the Tigers.

But the visiting Rams didn't have a player who is rapidly becoming an ultimate weapon in this series -- Towson kicker Ed Kulic.

For the second straight season, the sophomore made good on a kick that meant the difference in the Patriot League game. This time, it was a 24-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining, lifting the Tigers to a 25-23 triumph before 4,031 homecoming celebrators at Minnegan Stadium.

Last year, Kulic's point-after kick gave Towson a 35-34 win over Fordham in overtime.

Playing without star running back Jason Corle, out with a severely strained toe, the Tigers nonetheless produced a well-balanced attack. But their inability to get to Fordham's strong-armed quarterback Matt Georgia and a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown by Rams linebacker Andrew Trebbi four minutes into the fourth quarter appeared to doom the home team.

Fordham (0-7, 0-3) was successful at mixing up its plays, controlling the clock and play in the second half and getting some terrific punting out of Matt Fordyce throughout the game.

Trailing, 23-22, with just under seven minutes remaining, Towson backed Fordham up to its 7-yard line and into a punting situation. Fordyce responded with a 53-yard punt, however, and an additional 10 yards was assessed against the Tigers for an illegal block.

The Tigers (6-2, 4-0) could move just 16 yards in five plays, though, before a punt pushed Fordham back to its 15. Three plays later, Fordyce was out to punt again from that spot, only this time he shanked the ball just 18 yards upfield.

Using safe routes with their receivers and blasts between the tackles by Noah Read, the Tigers made two first downs and advanced to the 7-yard line before Kulic was summoned to do his thing. His kick was dead center.

"I thought about last year," Kulic said, "but only for an instant. Mostly I kept my head down and kept rehearsing the things I do whenever I kick. I know all the guys are behind me, so I was confident."

"Forget the fact they were 0-6," said Towson coach Gordie Coombs. "What we stressed all week was the fact it was homecoming, we wanted to be 4-0 and at the top of the league heading into the season's ninth week, and we'll have two of our top guns back next week [Corle and safety Ricky Crestwell]."

Fordham led after the first period on a 24-yard field goal by Brian Colsant after four minutes of play. After Towson countered on an 11-yard run by Read at the start of the second quarter, the underdog visitors moved ahead, 10-7, on a Georgia-to-Gerry McDermott hookup from 9 yards out shortly thereafter.

Towson got a lead that stood up until halftime on one of its best drives of the day, a seven-play, 68-yard march. Ray Harris started the push with a 30-yard run and finished it with a rush from 11 yards.

The third quarter belonged almost totally to Fordham, the Rams twice going on 13-play drives that gobbled up yards (76 and 63) and time. They managed only field goals for all their work, however.

"Maybe that's the story of our season," said first-year coach Dave Clawson. "Things happen to us: a punt we didn't catch [fumble], not finishing off drives. We do things to beat ourselves. We don't give ourself a chance to win."

The interception by Trebbi appeared to change that after Joe Lee had hooked up with Jamal White on a 24-yard scoring toss that put Towson in the lead, 22-16, late in the third period.

Then it was time for the kicking games to take over, Fordham punter Fordyce faltering and Towson's Ed Kulic coming through.

Next for Towson

Opponent: Lehigh

Site: Goodman Stadium, Bethlehem, Pa.

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Record: 7-0

Yesterday: Beat Holy Cross, 62-8

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