Towson chases, can't catch Fordham, 28-23

Tigers frustrated again in fourth straight loss

November 11, 2001|By Adam S. Reisinger | Adam S. Reisinger,SUN STAFF

Every time Towson began to make a comeback, Fordham responded with a big play, and the Rams held on for a 28-23 victory yesterday before 3,568 at Minnegan Stadium."We just keep coming up short," Towson coach Gordy Combs said. "What I told the players is we don't question their effort -- it's just that we have to make plays when the opportunity presents itself. In a close ballgame, it's evident we didn't make plays."

The loss was Towson's fourth in a row and first to Fordham since 1997.

The Tigers trailed 18-10 to begin the fourth quarter, when junior tailback Matt Romeo plunged in for a 3-yard touchdown, pulling Towson within two. After an offsides penalty, the Rams stuffed Romeo on the two-point conversion attempt, shifting the momentum.

"That was awesome," Rams quarterback Mark Carney said. "That was definitely momentum for us. The linebacker made a great play. That always helps our offense when the defense makes a great play."

Fordham's offense took the momentum back completely on its next play from scrimmage. Carney went to play-action and found Javarus Dudley behind Jarius Johnson's coverage for an 81-yard touchdown pass. The Rams have gone to play-action often, completing four passes of at least 48 yards each.

"It seemed like they were getting the linebackers sucked up," senior linebacker Sean Hendricks said. "They were throwing that deep dig right behind us. It seemed like they had a lot of big plays."

Things got worse for Towson when it got the ball back. Senior quarterback Val Troiani, getting the start on Senior Day, was hit as he threw and the ball was intercepted by Tony Downs, giving Fordham the ball within field-goal range.

Fortunately for the Tigers, Hendricks got the ball right back, intercepting Carney's pass at the 3-yard line.

Two possessions later, Towson finally got a big play of its own. Backup quarterback Jay Amer, in because of a shoulder injury to Troiani, found Brandon White streaking down the sideline for an 81-yard touchdown, narrowing the margin to two points.

However, that was as close as Towson would get.

"The game was won and lost in the fourth quarter," Fordham coach Dave Clawson said. "The amount of big plays in the fourth quarter was amazing."

Injuries played a key role in the game as Towson lost four offensive starters in the course of 60 minutes. In addition to Troiani, offensive linemen Dan Szabo and Jimmy Paylor left the game, as did starting tailback Noah Read, who is believed to have a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Romeo rushed for 79 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving.

Next for Towson

Opponent: Georgetown

Site: Kehoe Field, Washington

When: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Record: 3-6

Yesterday: Lost to Lafayette, 37-17.

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