Rhode Island, Porter run past Towson, 28-16

Rams gain 331 total yards, none from passing attack

College Football

October 10, 2004|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Towson University knew Rhode Island would run the ball all night, since that is pretty much all the Rams do with their spread option offense.

But there was little the Tigers could do about it at their homecoming last night before 7,102 at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Behind junior quarterback D.J. Porter, who made his first career start in place of injured junior Jayson Davis, Rhode Island did not record a single passing yard and only threw the ball twice, yet reeled off 21 straight points in the second half and rolled to a 28-16 victory.

The loss left Towson (2-3, 0-3) still in search of its first victory in the Atlantic 10 Conference. And it stung the Tigers, who entered the game sporting the 13th-ranked defense among Division I-AA teams, then surrendered 331 rushing yards to the nation's second-ranked I-AA rushing offense.

Porter overcame an interception and two lost snaps from center in the first half by finishing strong. After the Rams went into halftime down 10-7, Porter flashed his quickness and shifty moves with touchdown runs of 37 and 27 yards in the third quarter. He went on to finish with 132 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries.

Senior running back Jason Ham added 124 rushing yards. The Rhode Island defense, which held Towson to 94 second-half yards, finished the job by sacking Tigers quarterback Andrew Goldbeck in the end zone, forcing a fumble and recovering it for a score that made it 28-10 with 13:07 left in the game.

"[Porter] made us miss a lot, and we're a very good tackling team," Towson coach Gordy Combs said. "Their offense is perfect for him. We had him bottled up a couple of times, and he made some great individual efforts."

"It's kind of hard to see him in the hole at times," Towson safety/linebacker P.D. Moore said of Porter, who is listed generously at 5 feet 10. "They stuck with their game plan. He kept making the plays."

It was a costly loss for the Tigers, who lost freshman defensive tackle T.J. Foley (broken leg) and senior defensive tackle Mike Collier (sprained ankle). Foley is out indefinitely.

The Tigers spent much of the evening failing to sustain drives and dealing with bad field position. The Rams (3-2, 1-1) re-established their identity at the outset by assembling a 17-play, 71-yard touchdown drive without going to the air.

Ham produced 46 yards on the drive, which consumed 7:06 and ended with Porter's 2-yard run that gave the Rams a 7-0 lead with 7:54 left in the first quarter.

Rhode Island then committed three turnovers - two fumbled snaps and a Porter interception- during the half and ushered the Tigers back into the game.

The Rams opened their second possession by losing a bad snap. Moore recovered the fumble for Towson, and running back Kerry Miles finished a 20-yard drive by powering off left tackle for a 7-yard touchdown, tying the game at 7 with 5:00 left in the first quarter.

The teams then traded turnovers and combined for five punts before Towson took a 10-7 lead at the break on a 37-yard field goal by Stephan Toth with 26 seconds left. The big play on Towson's 50-yard drive was a 31-yard completion from Goldbeck to wide-out Andrae Brown that moved the ball to the Rams' 23.

The Tigers had a chance to pad their lead after Porter lost his second exchange with center Brandon Wenz, giving Towson the ball at the Rhode Island 11 with 15 seconds left before halftime. But Towson, which was out of timeouts, came up empty when tight end Jim Alexander was tackled at the 2 after a 9-yard completion as time expired.

Next for Towson

Matchup: Bowie State (3-4) vs. Towson (2-3)

Site: Johnny Unitas Stadium

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Radio: WTMD (89.7 FM)

Yesterday: Bowie State lost to Elizabeth City State, 11-0

Rhode Island 7 0 14 7 - 28

Towson 7 3 0 6 - 16

First quarter RI-Porter 2 run (Giannecchini kick), 7:54 T-Miles 7 run (Toth kick), 5:00 Second quarter T-Toth 37 field goal, :26 Third quarter RI-Porter 37 run (Giannecchini kick), 12:01 RI-Porter 27 run (Giannecchini kick), 4:04 Fourth quarter RI - Gibbons fumble recovery in end zone (Giannecchini kick), 13:07 T-Miles 1 run (run failed), 3:46 A-7,102

RI T

First downs 16 15

Rushes-yards 70-331 34-118

Passing 0 197

Comp-Att-Int 0-2-1 16-30-1

Return Yards 63 77

Punts-Avg. 6-40.3 9-34.4

Fumbles-Lost 6-2 1-1

Penalties-Yards 7-54 4-23

Time of Possession 33:41 26:19

Rushing-Rhode Island, Porter 28-132, Ham 22-124, Campbell 8-43, Poole 4-31, Gibbons 1-8, Jones 5-5, Hill 1-minus 10. Towson, Brunetti 10-56, Miles 12-35, Marcus 2-12, Williams 6-9, Goldbeck 3-6, Brown 1-0. Passing-Rhode Island, Porter 0-2-1-0. Towson, Goldbeck 16-30-1-197. Receiving-Rhode Island, Towson, Brown 3-49, Brunetti 3-14, Yancey 2-54, Brown 2-33, Alexander 2-22, Williams 2-8, Marcus 1-14, Arnold 1-3.

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