Towson has no problem solving Elon

Tigers roll in opener, 34-13, face bigger test Saturday

College Football

September 05, 2004|By Matt Papuchis | Matt Papuchis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ELON, N.C. -- If you had to define Towson's offseason in one word, it would have to be uncertainty. Questions about this year's team ranged from how the Tigers would fare in the more competitive Atlantic 10 Conference to who would be the starting quarterback.

And even though their first real test won't come until Saturday's league opener at Delaware, the Tigers seemed to have all the questions answered yesterday, pounding Elon, 34-13, in a nonleague game before 5,436 at Rhodes Stadium.

"I thought we played a complete game," said coach Gordy Combs, in his 13th season at Towson. "When you play your first game, sometimes you're concerned about which team is going to show up for you because every year you're a different team."

The Tigers put Combs' concerns to rest in the opening quarter. After Allante Harrison intercepted Kyle Hamilton's pass on Elon's first possession, Towson got the ball at its 30-yard line.

Newly named starting quarterback Andrew Goldbeck marched the Tigers downfield in six plays and Will Marcus capped the 70-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown run, giving Towson a 6-0 lead.

"[My nervousness] kind of grew more and more as game time came around," Goldbeck said of his first collegiate start. "But after the first snap it was cool."

Goldbeck finished with 139 yards passing, connecting with eight receivers, including a 26-yarder to Eric Yancey, before Combs decided to rest him after the third quarter.

Towson (1-0) led 20-0 -- thanks to a 14-yard touchdown catch by Marcus between a pair of Phoenix defenders and Kerry Miles' 1-yard score -- with a little more than 10 seconds to play in the half when Harrison intercepted his second pass of the afternoon. He took it 45 yards for a score, giving the Tigers a 27-0 halftime lead.

It could have been easy for the Tigers to have overlooked the Phoenix (0-1) with Delaware, the defending Division I-AA national champion, on the horizon.

Instead, Towson came out strong with a consistent offensive attack that accumulated 23 first downs and 443 total yards.

Combs said he wasn't worried about his team needing motivation.

"If we had played two or three more games and then had Delaware, I think that could have happened," he said. "But you're excited and just have a lot of enthusiasm about playing the first game no matter who you play."

Towson used eight rushers on its way to racking up 306 yards on the ground. Junior Josh Corle led the effort with 99 yards on 19 carries.

"It needs to be 100," Corle jokingly said of his performance. "The offensive line did great. They were fantastic. Every time I got the ball they made it easy."

Corle is the younger brother of Jason Corle, who ended his career as Towson's all-time leading rusher (3,601 yards) and scorer (47 touchdowns).

"I think Josh has made a lot of strides," Combs said. "Josh has bridged the gap between him and his brother. Sometimes he does look like Jason running out there. ... He's been very patient, waiting for his opportunity playing behind guys like Mikal Lundy, Matt Romeo and Ray Harris his first couple of years in the program."

Towson 13 14 0 7 -- 34

Elon 0 0 6 7 -- 13

First quarter T--Marcus 12 run (kick blocked), 6:58. T--Marcus 14 pass from Goldbeck (Toth kick), 0:13. Second quarter T--Miles 1 run (Toth kick), 1:19. T--Harrison 45 interception return (Toth kick), 0:03. Third quarter E--Taylor 1 run (kick blocked), 7:21. Fourth quarter T--Goldbeck 1 run (Toth kick) 13:32. E--Harris 42 interception return (Rawls kick), 7:17. A--5,436.

Towson Elon

First downs 23 15

Rushes-yards 52-306 31-110

Passing 137 94

Comp-Att-Int 13-23-2 17-29-2

Return Yards 90 162

Punts-Avg. 1-41 4-36.8

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards 8-57 2-10

Time of Possession 33:17 26:43

Rushing--Towson, Corle 19-99, Brunetti 6-55, A. Brown 3-48, Miles 9-43, Marcus 3-38, Buitrago 7-20, Perry 2-16, Goldbeck 2-6. Elon, Taylor 25-99, Crawford 2-8, Johnson 1-6, Dargan 1-0, Pope 2-(-3).

Passings--Towson, Goldbeck 12-20-139-1, Malzi 1-3-(-2)-1. Elon, Hamilton 10-17-43-2, Pope 7-12-51-0.

Receiving--Towson, Yancey 3-53, Alexander 2-23, Arnold 2-10, A. Brown 1-18, Marcus 1-14, Brunetti 1-10, Collins 1-6, R. Brown 1-5, Perry 1-(-2). Elon, Crews 5-27, Dargan 4-29, Taylor 3-6, Johnson 2-18, Crawford 2-10, Smith 1-4.

Next for Towson

Matchup: Towson (1-0) vs. Delaware (0-1)

Site: Delaware Stadium, Newark, Del.

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Radio: WTMD (89.7 FM)

Yesterday: Delaware was idle after losing to New Hampshire, 24-21, on Thursday.

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