Towson has little time to savor Delaware win

College football

State notebook

October 06, 2005|By MATT PAPUCHIS | MATT PAPUCHIS,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Towson's coaching staff knows that last week's 35-31 upset win over Delaware - then the fifth-ranked Division I-AA team in the nation - won't be as meaningful if the Tigers can't parlay that momentum into a win this week at Rhode Island.

Towson coach Gordy Combs said that, just as they did after two conference losses, the Tigers (3-2, 1-2 Atlantic 10) will need to move past the Delaware win immediately and focus on the next game.

"If you're a coach you have to put it behind you pretty quickly," he said. "The time to enjoy it is when the season is completed. For the players, after 48 hours they have to move on, too. We started on Rhode Island with the players on Tuesday, but by Sunday, the coaches were already getting ready.

"The Delaware win is only important if it leads to more wins. It is important for us to remember what put us into this position."

Freshman quarterback Sean Schaefer had a lot to do with it, passing for 274 yards and a touchdown. He was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week.

The last time Towson beat a Top-10 team was in 2002, when the school topped then-No. 9 Lehigh. Towson, which had hoped to contend for the Patriot League title that season, then closed out the year dropping three of four conference games.

Towson, which boasts the No. 9 offense in the country, received 23 votes in Sports Network's I-AA Top 25 national poll. A win at Rhode Island (3-2, 1-1) this week probably won't be enough to get the Tigers a spot in the Top 25, but it would give them a chance to prove that the win over Delaware - their first Atlantic 10 victory since joining the conference last year - wasn't a fluke.

Bears on big stage

Morgan State, at 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, has matched its worst start in the four years since Donald Hill-Eley became coach. His all-time record at Morgan has dropped below .500 (19-20) and Morgan is trying its best to put together a run as its MEAC schedule is now in full swing.

Perhaps the excitement of playing on one the largest stages in all of football Saturday - the Washington Redskins' FedEx Field in Landover - will serve as some incentive. A large crowd is expected when the Bears take on North Carolina A&T in the second annual Prince George's Classic - an event in which sports and culture at historically black colleges and universities are honored.

Last year, in the inaugural Classic, 15,206 showed up to see Howard triumph over Alcorn State, 17-10.

"To have an opportunity to play in the Prince George's Classic is a tremendous honor," Hill-Eley said. "Anytime our players get to walk through one of those NFL vestibules, a place they see on national TV every Sunday, is natural motivation.

"We're going to have a nice following. About a third of our roster is from P.G. County, a lot of the cheerleaders are from there, and a large population of the student body is from there."

Et cetera

After a 35-14 win over Dickinson last weekend, Johns Hopkins (4-0) is the highest-ranked team in the state at No. 22 in this week's Division III poll and also has the top-ranked defense in the Centennial Conference, allowing just 6.8 points a game. The Blue Jays take an eight-game winning streak, second longest in school history, into Saturday's home game against Franklin & Marshall.

McDaniel (4-0) is ranked No. 24 in this week's Division III poll with an offense that is averaging 32.2 points a game.

Bowie State's discipline troubles have been evident this season. The Bulldogs are averaging 88.8 penalty yards a game. But they average 236 rushing yards a game behind Isaac Redman's 96.8-yard average.

Frostburg State (2-2) averages just 15.3 points a game, lowest in the Atlantic Central Football Conference and nearly 30 points a game fewer than its opponent, Wesley, this weekend.

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