Turnovers, penalties cost Towson

Tigers move ball well, but fall to H. Cross, 17-9

College Football

September 23, 2001|By Adam S. Reisinger | Adam S. Reisinger,SUN STAFF

In a game where Towson University moved the ball better than it had all year, the Tigers' chances ended, fittingly enough, on a penalty.

The Tigers had six of them, plus five turnovers, in a 17-9 loss to Holy Cross yesterday at Minnegan Stadium.

"It seems like the last three games we've played, it hasn't been one person continually making mistakes," Towson coach Gordy Combs said. "It's to the point now where it's like, `Who is going to take his turn?' "

Late in the fourth quarter, it looked like the Tigers had forced a Crusaders punt and would gain one final opportunity, but they were flagged for an illegal substitution, letting Holy Cross retain possession and end any hopes of a last-second comeback.

However, Towson missed more than its fair share of opportunities earlier in the game. The Tigers racked up 398 yards of total offense, gaining a season-high 332 through the air. But three fumbles and a pair of interceptions limited the offense to nine points.

Towson also struggled to capitalize on its possessions in the red zone. The Tigers broke inside the Holy Cross 20 five times, but never crossed the goal line.

"Once again, we won the battle of the statistics, but the most important statistic is the score and turnovers," Combs said. "And it's also where we turn the ball over. That was the problem."

Early in the second quarter, trailing 2-0, Towson had a first-and-goal situation on the Holy Cross 4-yard line. Three consecutive running plays gained just 2 yards, and the Tigers were forced to settle for a field goal.

The situation repeated itself later in the quarter, when the Tigers drove to the Crusaders' 10, only to watch back-to-back Val Troiani passes fall incomplete, then have an fake field-goal attemptsnuffed out.

"I don't know what we can do," sophomore wide receiver Jason Galloway said. "We're out there giving 100 percent, we just can't punch it in."

Holy Cross scored late in the first half on a deep pass from Brian Hall, taking a 10-3 lead. On the first drive of the second half, Hall found David Thompson behind the coverage, giving the Crusaders a seven-point lead.

Towson got within striking distance on three occasions in the second half, but only managed to add two more field goals. On the Tigers' other trip inside the Crusaders' 20, following a blocked punt, Troiani had his pass intercepted on the first play, and was promptly replaced by Jay Amer. The sophomore didn't fare much better, fumbling twice after sacks, losing one of them, and having one of his passes intercepted.

"If I knew [what the problem was], I'd fix it," Combs said. "When it's the right guard that's holding, or the fullback that's holding, or the illegal procedure by the tailback or and interception, what can I do? Replace everybody?"

Holy Cross 2 8 7 0 - 17

Towson 0 3 3 3 - 9

Next for Towson

Opponent: Morgan State

Site: Hughes Stadium

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Record: 0-3

Yesterday: Lost to Howard, 41-15

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