QB Tutt, Spiders cool off Tigers

Richmond 48 Towson 21

College football


Midway through the second quarter yesterday at Johnny Unitas Stadium, the Towson University football team was hanging tough against one of the surprise powers of the Atlantic 10.

By the time the 18th-ranked Richmond Spiders were done with them, the Tigers had absorbed a bruising loss near the end of an otherwise encouraging season.

Behind senior quarterback Stacy Tutt, a strong offensive line and a defense that forced three turnovers and knocked around Towson quarterback Sean Schaefer, Richmond spoiled the Tigers' home finale with a 48-21 rout before 3,472. The Spiders won their sixth straight game and clinched the A-10 Southern Division title.

The Tigers, who had won four of their past five games before yesterday and already are assured of their first winning season since 2002, fell apart on defense by allowing scoring plays of 40, 59, 37 and 75 yards. In the third quarter, which began with Towson trailing 20-7, Richmond held the ball for just 3:38 but erupted for 21 points to put the Tigers in a 41-14 hole.

Tutt rushed for a career-high 144 yards and two touchdowns, threw for 185 yards and two more scores and was a big-play nightmare for Towson (6-4, 3-4). He broke several tackles on a run up the middle for a 59-yard score early in the third quarter to make it 27-7. On the quarter's final play, Tutt turned a quarterback draw into a 75-yard touchdown.

"[Tutt] was a lot faster than I thought he was on film," said Towson sophomore linebacker Brian Bradford, who led all players with 12 tackles. "You're running as hard and fast as you can, and you're not getting closer."

"[Tutt] plays within the framework of the offense, and he can make plays outside with his athletic ability," Towson coach Gordy Combs said. "[The Spiders] are on a five-game roll, and they're playing with a lot of confidence. We didn't complement each other well in terms of offense, defense or special teams."

Richmond (7-3, 6-1), which has reversed four straight losing seasons and was 3-8 a year ago, controlled the line of scrimmage. The Spiders piled up 274 yards of rushing and averaged 8.6 yards per attempt, while limiting the Tigers to 1.7 yards per carry on 35 attempts. They also sacked Schaefer eight times, intercepted him once and made him cough up a fumble.

Towson's best chance was to get into a shooting match with its potent offense. But that plan started to unravel in the second quarter. With the Tigers trailing 10-7 and driving past midfield, Schaefer completed a 9-yard pass to Andrae Brown, but the ball was stripped and recovered by Spiders lineman Dan Mangiero at the Richmond 41. Four plays later, running back David Freeman bolted 40 yards for a touchdown, making it 17-7 with 6:16 left in the half. It went downhill from there for Towson.

The Tigers went three-and-out, then watched punter Stephan Toth shank an 18-yarder, which led to a 33-yard field goal by Joseph Fore. Then, on Towson's opening possession of the second half, Schaefer got sacked by lineman David Gracia, who knocked the ball loose. It was recovered by end Sherman Logan. Three plays later, Tutt's 59-yard burst made it 27-7 with 13:05 left in the quarter.

Despite the setback, it appears Combs, who was re-signed for one season after the Tigers went winless a year ago in their first season as A-10 members, is headed for a multi-year contract extension.

"To only have 39 scholarships and to get six wins [overall] and three wins in this league is an unbelievable job," Richmond coach Dave Clawson said.


Richmond 7 13 21 7 - 48

Towson 7 0 7 7 - 21

First quarter R-Hightower 16 run (Fore kick), 11:39. T-R.Brown 16 pass from Schaefer (Halbruner kick), :00.

Second quarter R-FG Fore 44, 10:47. R-Freeman 40 run (Fore kick), 6:16. R-FG Fore 33, 2:45.

Third quarter R-Tutt 59 run (Fore kick), 13:05. T-Meehan 3 pass from Schaefer (Halbruner kick), 8:52. R-Shields 37 pass from Tutt (Fore kick), 7:58. R-Tutt 75 run (Fore kick), :00.

Fourth quarter R-Crone 3 pass from Tutt (Fore kick), 5:35. T-Yancey 8 pass from Schaefer (Halbruner kick), 1:25. A-3,472.

Richmond Towson

First downs 15 22

Rushes-yards 32-274 35-58

Passing 185 332

Comp-Att-Int 14-22-1 27-44-1

Return Yards 58 4

Punts-Avg. 3-36.7 6-38.7

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 4-2

Penalties-Yards 6-51 4-53

Time of Possession 25:33 34:27

Rushing-Richmond, Tutt 9-144, Hightower 14-81, Freeman 6-50, Crone 1-2, Team 2-(minus-3). Towson, N.Williams 20-80, Corle 1-10, McClaude 2-6, K.Miles 1-1, Schaefer 11-(minus-39). Passing-Richmond, Tutt 14-22-1-185. Towson, Schaefer 27-44-1-332. Receiving-Richmond, Shields 5-82, Hale 4-50, Hightower 3-31, Desriveaux 1-19, Crone 1-3. Towson, Lee 6-116, A.Brown 6-41, Yancey 5-50, N.Williams 3-16, Perry 2-23, Arnold 2-13, Corle 1-54, R.Brown 1-16, Meehan 1-3.

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