Towson goes to 4-0 with 4th-quarter rally

Towson 33 Hofstra 30

September 24, 2006|By Dan Friedell | Dan Friedell,Special to the Sun

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Coming into last night's game at Hofstra, Towson wasn't used to playing from behind. By the time the game ended, the Tigers were veterans of the comeback.

The Tigers faced deficits of four, seven, eight and 11 points at various stages of the game but rallied for a 33-30 win in their Atlantic-10 opener.

Towson, which trailed by 11 midway through the fourth quarter, took its first lead of the game on an 11-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass from Sean Schaefer to Eric Yancey with 24 seconds left. Schaefer then connected with tight end Ryan Meehan on the two-point conversion for the final margin.

Schaefer was 43-for-60 for 458 yards -- all career highs -- and threw three touchdown passes for Towson, which is 4-0 for the first time in 13 years.

"We have so many playmakers at wide receiver and the line was just blocking great," Schaefer said. "I could just sit back there and make my reads and let the game come to me."

Even with Hofstra (1-2, 0-1) confident that the Tigers would be passing on every down, Schaefer sidestepped would-be tacklers and found his receivers time after time on the game-winning, 12-play, 89-yard drive that began with 2:42 left.

He converted two fourth-down plays, including a 30-yard pass to Demetrius Harrison on fourth-and-four from the Hofstra 46.

"Demetrius broke a tackle and made a great play to give us great field position, and Yancey got open for the touchdown between three guys," Schaefer said.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Schaefer found Harrison for a 34-yard completion to the Hofstra 16. Three plays later he lofted a pass to Marcus Lee in the left corner of the end zone to cut the Pride lead to 30-25, but the two-point conversion try failed.

The Tigers forced Hofstra to punt once again, taking over on their own 11 with 2:42 to play

The Tigers trailed at the half for the first time all season, 20-16, but it could have been worse. Towson fell behind 17-6 just moments into the second quarter but rallied for 10 straight points before giving up a field goal with 28 seconds left in the half.

It wasn't surprising that the teams, each averaging more than 20 points per game, combined for 36 points in the first half. What was surprising, however, was that most of Hofstra's offense came on the ground.

The Pride, which began last night ranked last in the Atlantic-10 with 29.5 rushing yards rushing per game, ran for 124 yards in the opening half. Most of that output came from junior tailback Kareem Huggins, who finished with 17 carries for 117 yards and had bursts of 26 and 30 yards that set up both of Hofstra's first-half touchdowns.

The Pride went ahead, 7-0, on an 11-yard pass from Anton Clarkson to Shaine Smith.

The Tigers answered six minutes later when Nick Williams (Calvert Hall), on just his second carry of the season, went in from 1 yard out to cap a drive that began after linebacker Jordan Manning's fumble recovery on the Hofstra 32. Chris Desautel missed the extra-point try, and the Tigers trailed, 7-6.

Towson 6 10 3 14--33

Hofstra 14 6 3 7--30

First quarter H--S.Smith 12 pass from Clarkson (Zarrilli kick), 12:07. T--N.Williams 1 run (kick blocked), 6:25. H--Crenshaw 8 run (Zarrilli kick), 2:41.

Second quarter H--FG Zarrilli 32, 14:10. T--FG Desautels 21, 9:47. T--Yancey 22 pass from Schaefer (Desautels kick), 8:23. H--FG Zarrilli 33, :28.

Third quarter T--FG Desautels 36, 6:15. H--FG Zarrilli 31, 2:43.

Fourth quarter H--Huggins 3 run (Zarrilli kick), 14:46. T--M.Lee 15 pass from Schaefer (pass failed), 5:22. T--Yancey 11 pass from Schaefer (Meehan pass from Schaefer), :24. Att.--4,984.

Towson Hofstra

First downs 26 17

Rushes-yards 21-51 29-173

Passing 458 226

Comp-Att-Int 43-60-0 15-32-1

Return Yards 20 13

Punts-Avg. 3-29.7 4-40.0

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1

Penalties-Yards 4-40 9-69

Time of Possession 32:56 27:04 Rushing--Towson, N.Williams 13-36, Harrison 2-19, Castor 1-4, Perry 1-3, Schaefer 4-(minus 11). Hofstra, Huggins 17-117, Crenshaw 10-48, Clarkson 2-8. Passing--Towson, Schaefer 43-60-0-458. Hofstra, Clarkson 15-30-1-226, D.Davis 0-2-0-0. Receiving--Towson, Harrison 11-129, Yancey 10-115, M.Lee 7-86, N.Williams 6-38, Arnold 5-66, Perry 2-10, Meehan 1-12, Castor 1-2. Hofstra, S.Smith 5-72, Brooks 4-75, Sullivan 3-46, Huggins 2-25, Riley 1-8.

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