Towson routs Villanova, clinches winning season

Blocked punt for a score sparks 38-point first half

Towson 40 Villanova 19

College football


Towson's Josh Corle hadn't played since Oct. 8, serving a two-game suspension for a violation of team rules. He's seen his role diminish from starting running back early last season to special teams participant and backup mainly because of injuries.

But yesterday, the senior from Barnegat, N.J., made his presence felt in the opening minutes. Corle picked up a punt blocked by Andrae Brown (Milford Mill) and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown that set the tone for an afternoon in which everything seemed to go right for the Tigers.

Returning home for the first time in more than a month, Towson (6-3, 3-3 Atlantic 10) seized every opportunity it could on its way to a 40-19 win over Villanova (4-5, 2-4) before 4,027 at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

"We took advantage of our open week; we didn't practice extremely hard," Towson coach Gordy Combs said. "We set the tempo with the blocked punt, and we seemed to roll at that point. We controlled the ball on offense and came up with some big plays."

In addition to Brown's punt block early in the game, the Tigers also forced three Wildcats turnovers in the opening half, converting two into touchdowns that gave Towson a 32-point halftime lead.

Leading 14-0 - thanks to Corle's early score and Kerry Miles' seventh rushing touchdown of the season, from 1 yard out - Towson recovered a Villanova fumble at the Wildcats' 21-yard line. Quarterback Sean Schaefer capped the short drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers up 21-0 with 2:32 left in the first quarter.

Then, with a little more than two minutes to play in the second quarter, Marcus Edwards sacked Villanova quarterback Frank Jankowski, forcing a fumble. Towson's Trent Covington recovered and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 38-6 halftime lead.

The Tigers also managed to turn a Villanova touchdown into points. After Chris Polite caught a 58-yard touchdown pass from Jankowski with 14:42 left, Allante Harrison (Woodlawn), who also had an interception, blocked the extra point. Davon Telp picked up the loose ball and returned it all the way for two points and a 40-12 Towson lead.

Harrison said a pre-game pep talk by Towson alumnus and interim St. Louis Rams coach Joe Vitt provided added motivation.

"It gave me jitters," he said. "It's hard to even describe it."

Brian Bradford intercepted a pass with 7:29 left for Towson's fourth takeaway of the game before a late Villanova touchdown with 1:27 to go.

Towson also forced seven punts, three in the first quarter alone. The Tigers didn't force any in their last game two weeks ago, a 44-13 loss at William and Mary.

"That's a credit to our defensive staff and our players," Combs said. "Our players keep believing what our coaches are telling them."

Schaefer led Towson yesterday, going 18-for-29 with 192 yards. His 84-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Lee (five catches, 110 yards) with 3:19 left in the second quarter was a career high for both and the longest passing play for the Tigers since 2002.


Villanova 0 6 0 13 - 19

Towson 21 17 0 2 - 40

First Quarter Tow-Corle 28 blocked punt return (Halbruner kick), 13:20. Tow-Miles 1 run (Halbruner kick), 8:26. Tow-Schaefer 1 run (Halbruner kick), 2:32. Second Quarter Tow-FG Halbruner 23, 7:18. Vil-Gibson 3 run (kick failed), 4:14. Tow-M.Lee 84 pass from Schaefer (Halbruner kick), 3:19. Tow-Covington 70 fumble return (Halbruner kick), 2:03. Fourth Quarter Vil-Polite 58 pass from Jankowski (kick blocked), 14:42. Tow-Telp two-point defensive conversion, 14:42. Vil-Dicken 2 run (Marcoux kick), 1:27. A-4,027.

Vil Tow

First downs 19 16

Rushes-yards 26-66 41-124

Passing 284 192

Comp-Att-Int 27-48-2 18-29-1

Return Yards 9 139

Punts-Avg. 7-35.6 5-33.6

Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0

Penalties-Yards 7-60 4-31

Time of Possession 25:58 34:02

Rushing-Villanova, Gibson 11-60, A.Young 3-16, Dicken 3-11, Jones 1-5, Outlaw 2-3, Jankowski 6-(minus 29). Towson, N.Williams 22-86, Schaefer 6-28, Corle 6-9, Miles 7-1. Passing-Villanova, Jankowski 24-43-2-245, A.Young 3-5-0-39. Towson, Schaefer 18-29-1-192. Receiving-Villanova, Dieser 7-45, Outlaw 6-30, Polite 3-93, Atkinson 3-42, Sherry 3-34, Gibson 3-8, M.Bradway 1-24, Jones 1-8. Towson, M.Lee 5-110, A.Brown 5-42, Yancey 2-16, Byroads 2-15, R.Brown 1-7, Perry 1-4, N.Williams 1-3, Corle 1-(minus 5).

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