Towson's pain runs deep in 9-7 defeat

Colgate dashes hopes on last-second field goal

College Football

October 27, 2002|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

Towson University's hopes for a conference title were dealt a crushing blow yesterday by the foot of Lane Schwarzberg.

With one second remaining in the game, Schwarzberg hit his third field goal, from 39 yards away, to lift Colgate to a 9-7 Patriot League victory at Towson University Stadium that all but knocked the Tigers out of the race.

It was a devastating loss for Towson (5-3, 3-2), which received a Herculean effort from its defense, did not commit a turnover and gave up only 10 yards in penalties.

That combination usually adds up to success on the scoreboard, but Colgate -- unbeaten in seven games in the series -- rationed Towson's high-powered attack to 238 yards and capitalized on its kicking game to deal the Tigers their first defeat at their newly renovated stadium.

Five sacks, three other tackles for losses, a dropped pass here and there and a blanket thrown over Towson receivers Jamal White and Jason Galloway highlighted the collective defensive efficiency by Colgate (5-3, 2-1).

A 71-yard kickoff return by J.B. Gerald of DuVal High in Lanham set up Schwarzberg's second field goal immediately after Towson had scored to go ahead 7-3 in a game in which one touchdown loomed as a large advantage.

The Tigers managed only one first down as they tried to run out the final 5 1/2 minutes while clinging to a one-point lead. After punting, they left the Red Raiders with 2:22 on the clock and three timeouts remaining.

Ray LaMonica's 5-yard gain on a fourth-down draw play picked up a vital first down and quarterback Tom McCune inexorably drove Colgate into position for Schwarzberg to kick his second game-winning field goal of the season; the other beat Bucknell in overtime.

Colgate overcame four turnovers to win for the fifth time in its past six starts by forcing Tigers quarterback Jay Amer to "throw underneath because they were taking away the deep ball. They made us change our whole plan."

The only Tigers score followed Keith Meeney's interception at the Colgate 33 late in the third period. An all-rushing march was climaxed by Matt Romeo's 1-yard touchdown on the final play of the quarter.

"We had a hard time getting anything going on offense," said Towson coach Gordy Combs, whose offensive line has been riddled by injuries. "Their plan was to take advantage of our inexperience there and not give up the big play."

Towson's longest gain of any kind was 26 yards, and explosive receivers White and Galloway were restricted to five catches for a combined 44 yards.

Colgate had scored at least 30 points in each of its previous games against Towson and it was some consolation that the Red Raiders didn't get a single touchdown this time. "That was a great accomplishment," said Combs.

"If you would have told me beforehand that we'd hold them without a touchdown, that they'd score nine points, I'd thought it would be an easy win."

Colgate would have to lose twice more for Towson to win the Patriot League crown, since head-to-head meetings are the first tiebreaker.

The Red Raiders have four Patriot games left, the toughest at Lehigh on Nov. 9.

"We played our hearts out and did everything but win the game," Combs said.

Colgate 3 0 0 6 -- 9

Towson 0 0 7 0 -- 7

Next for Towson

Opponent:Monmouth

Site:Kessler Field, West Long Branch, N.J.

When:Saturday, 1 p.m.

Record:1-6

Yesterday:Lost to Wagner, 7-6

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