Read runs Towson by Lafayette in OT

Senior's career-best 218 yards rushing help Tigers rally for 16-13 win

College Football

September 09, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

By the end of a long afternoon, Towson University senior running back Noah Read was understandably tired. The good thing for the Tigers was Lafayette's defense was far more exhausted.

Two goal-line stands from the Tigers' defense kept things close in the first half, enabling Read to take over the rest of the way as Towson survived a home-opening scare with a come-from-behind 16-13 overtime win over Lafayette before 2,810 at Minnegan Stadium.

By the time Read scored from 6 yards out in the overtime, his second touchdown of the day, he had carried 38 times for 218 yards - a career best that pushed him over 2,000 yards for his career.

"I was tired, too, but you could tell [Lafayette's defense] was hurting. We stuck to our game plan, we didn't want to get away from running the ball, and we just stuck with it," said Read, who became just the fourth Tiger to surpass 2,000 yards and now ranks 19th on the Patriot League's all-time list with 2,037. The other three Towson players to rush for more than 2,000 yards are Jason Corle (3,601), Tony Vinson (3,058) and Brian McCarty (2,594).

"Pretty much all I wanted to do was win the game," he said. "The stats are great, but I just wanted to win the game."

The Tigers (1-1) survived a game-opening, 93-yard kickoff return by Lafayette senior Andrew May, a second straight week of changing quarterbacks with senior Val Troiani taking over for sophomore Jay Amer in the third quarter, and a knee injury to senior linebacker and team captain Rusty McKinney to win their fifth straight home opener and start their Patriot League schedule on a positive note.

"I think what we learned from Week 1 to Week 2 is that we have to play for 60 minutes. That's a theme we always try to relay to our football team - playing 60 minutes," said Towson coach Gordy Combs.

And then some.

The Tigers trailed 10-0 going into the fourth quarter - holding Lafayette to a field goal on two possessions that ended on the 1 - but Read found the right side for an 11-yard touchdown run to cap an eight-play, 68-yard drive with 13:49 left, and they tied the game on their next possession on a 22-yard field goal by Ed Kulic.

The Towson defense, led by an 11-tackle effort by senior linebacker Sean Hendricks and a key goal-line stop from reserve linebacker Ernie Listman in the first quarter, kept the Leopards (0-1) out of the end zone again in the overtime opportunity that starts on the opposing team's 25-yard line.

After Lafayette quarterback Marko Glavic (18-for-35, 244 yards) threw consecutive incomplete passes to force a fourth-and-seven from the Tigers' 11, kicker Martin Brecht booted a 28-yard field goal to give the Leopards a 13-10 lead.

The Tigers only needed four plays on their overtime possession to reach the end zone - Read carrying the ball for all of them - to get the win.

"You've got to be able to run the ball and stop the run to win football games, and we came up short," said Lafayette second-year coach Frank Tavani. "You've got to give Towson a lot of credit, they played hard and hung in there, and obviously Noah Read had a great day out there. He did a great job, and we didn't wrap up. We had plenty of opportunities to tackle him, and we didn't do it."

Amer, getting his first collegiate start, was 5-for-14 for 63 yards with one interception before Combs went to Troiani in the middle of the third quarter. In last week's 14-10 loss at Albany, Amer came in for Troiani at about the same time.

Next Saturday, with Yale coming to Minnegan Stadium for a 1 p.m. start, Troiani (5-for-10, 54 yards with one interception yesterday) will return to the starting lineup.

"As long as they can handle the situation, that's what's important," said Combs. "Whoever gets us in the end zone, that's the guy we're going to play. Sometimes you need a psychological move to get the team going. I think the fact that we won, Val did a good job - he'll be the starter next weekend, and we'll go with the guy with the hot hand."

Next for Towson

Opponent: Yale

Site: Minnegan Stadium

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Record: 0-0

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