Towson football brings its `A' game

Tigers to face Navy, two other I-A teams


... Towson University upgraded its football schedule yesterday, setting up games against Navy and two other Division I-A schools, Northwestern and Indiana of the Big Ten.

Towson, a Division I-AA team, will tackle the Midshipmen on Aug. 30, 2008, in the season opener in Annapolis. The Tigers will visit Northwestern in 2009 and travel to Indiana in 2010.

Towson has never faced a Division I-A opponent.

Towson coach Gordy Combs said last night the duel with Navy is "going to draw people to see Towson play for the first time in any sport. It's been a game people around here have always talked about, and now I believe it's going to be played on a Saturday night when everybody can come out and see it."

Towson athletic director Wayne Edwards would not divulge financial details on the three road games against I-A schools except to say, "It's financially worth our while."

Edwards said his school will net "about the same amount of money from all three games because the Navy guarantee is smaller [than Indiana and Northwestern]" - while the travel expenses are greater to Northwestern and Indiana.

Edwards said all three games developed out of his close friendships with the athletic directors at the three schools, and followed a change in NCAA legislation a year ago allowing I-A schools to play a I-AA school every year (instead of every four years) and count the win toward bowl-eligible status.

Edwards said: "[Navy athletic director] Chet Gladchuk could have gotten anybody to come to the Naval Academy and play, but he was good enough to schedule us. It's going to be a very meaningful experience for our kids with the jets flying over and everything."

The Tigers will be in Evanston, Ill., on Sept. 12, 2009, to meet the Wildcats, and then will take on the Hoosiers in Bloomington, Ind., on Sept. 4, 2010.

"Scheduling Division I-A opponents will provide greater regional and national visibility for Towson athletics and for the university," Edwards said. "We anticipate scheduling one game vs. a Division I-A opponent on an annual basis."

The Tigers had a significant breakthrough in their second season in the Atlantic 10 this season, upsetting then-No. 5 Delaware at home, defeating Rhode Island on the road, and trouncing Villanova at home. Towson lost its last two league games but finished 3-5 in the A-10 and 6-5 overall.

Towson will open its 38th season of football next year Sept. 2 against Morgan State.

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