William & Mary conquers Towson

Tribe scores on first play, never looks back, 41-16

October 31, 2004|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Any illusions of Towson University keeping its status as the top-ranked pass defense in Division I-AA vanished on William and Mary's first play from scrimmage last night.

That's when Tribe senior quarterback Lang Campbell dropped back and threw a spiral to Dominique Thompson, who outran a pair of defensive backs for a 46-yard touchdown.

On a foggy night at Johnny Unitas Stadium, the play set the tone for a rout, as host Towson allowed 585 yards of total offense - just 30 shy of a school record - in a 41-16 loss to 16th-ranked William and Mary, keeping the Tigers winless in the Atlantic 10.

Numbers aside, to Tigers coach Gordy Combs, the game was just one in a long series of steps needed to eventually put the program on par with the I-AA elite.

"We played a very good football team. We knew that as we watched video and as we watched the scores," Combs said.

"The transition is very tough. We went into last week's game knowing that four out of our last five opponents were ranked in the top 25."

After holding both Rhode Island and Bowie State without a single passing yard, and allowing an average of just 119 passing yards through their first seven games, Towson gave up 305 yards through the air.

In the first quarter alone, however, Campbell - who entered the day ranked seventh in Division I-AA quarterback efficiency - threw for 116 yards, and finished 20-for-29 for 268 yards and three touchdowns before coming out after the third quarter.

"He's the best I've ever played against," said strong safety P.D. Moore.

The game had an ominous start for Towson (3-5 overall, 0-5 Atlantic 10).

On a third-and-8 at his own 28, quarterback Andrew Goldbeck was sacked from his blind side for a loss of 9, forcing his team to punt. A play later, Campbell floated a high-arching pass over defensive backs Bryan Fitzpatrick and Eric Clark to the waiting Thompson, who took it the final 15 yards for the score.

"We kind of wanted to go deep early to soften their corners up a little bit," Campbell said. "We caught the defense kind of confused between which zone they wanted to play. Dominique just got behind them."

Led by the hard running of fullback Matthew Brunetti, the Tigers drove deep into the Tribe's territory midway through the first quarter, but had to settle for a 33-yard field goal from freshman Ron Halbruner to pull within four.

That was as close as the Tigers would get.

On consecutive drives, William and Mary (6-2, 4-1) scored on a 1-yard plunge by Jon Smith, a 21-yard screen pass from Campbell to Thompson and a 32-yard field goal by Greg Kuehn to extend the lead to 24-3 by halftime.

Trailing 38-3, Towson finally reached the end zone on the opening play of the fourth quarter, when Goldbeck hit Paul Perry on a 49-yard pass down the middle.

William & Mary 7 17 14 3 - 41

Towson 3 0 0 13 - 16

First quarter W&M-Thompson 46 pass from Campbell (Kuehn kick), 13:07. TOW-FG Halbruner 33, 7:38. Second quarter W&M-Smith 1 run (Kuehn kick), 14:57. W&M-Thompson 21 pass from Campbell (Kuehn kick), 7:32. W&M-FG Kuehn 32, :47. Third quarter W&M-Brooks 8 run (Kuehn kick), 7:27. W&M-Bratton 1 pass from Campbell (Kuehn kick), 1:41. Fourth quarter TOW-Perry 49 pass from Goldbeck (Halbruner kick), 14:52. W&M-FG Kuehn 43, 10:46. TOW-Perry 26 pass from Goldbeck (kick blocked), 9:23. A-3,280.

W&M Tow

First downs 30 14

Rushes-yards 47-280 28-77

Passing 305 234

Comp-Att-Int 23-37-0 18-33-2

Return Yards 77 135

Punts-Avg. 2-41.5 6-35.2

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0

Penalties-Yards 5-40 2-30

Time of Possession 35:59 24:01

Rushing-William & Mary, Smith 16-113, Brooks 18-93, Viola 7-53, Campbell 3-16, Otey 2-6, Team 1-(minus-1). Towson, Brunetti 12-49, Marcus 2-11, Miles 3-11, Brown 1-10, Corle 6-1, Goldbeck 4-(minus-5). Passing-William & Mary, Campbell 20-29-268-0, Potts 3-8-37-0. Towson, Goldbeck 18-33-234-2. Receiving-William & Mary, Thompson 7-122, Nicholas 4-42, Smith 3-19, Bratton 2-30, Davis 2-12, Pitts 1-29, Taylor 1-20, Holston 1-13, Brooks 1-10, Parrott 1-8. Towson, Marcus 6-70, Brown 4-58, Corle 3-13, Perry 2-75, Arnold 2-10, Brown 1-8.

Next for Towson

Matchup: Towson (3-5, 0-5) vs. Richmond (2-6, 1-4)

Site: University of Richmond Stadium, Richmond, Va.

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Radio: WTMD (89.7 FM)

Yesterday: Richmond lost to Hofstra, 48-17.

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