Towson suffers first loss

Maine sacks Tigers' Schaefer nine times, forces him to fumble twice in rout

Maine 28 Towson 7

October 08, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun reporter

Towson's undefeated run came crashing down with a thud yesterday at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Hounded by an effective Maine defensive line and a variety of blitzers, Tigers quarterback Sean Schaefer committed three costly turnovers, and the Black Bears combined their opponents' miscues with a blocked punt and a resourceful offense to roll to a 28-7 Atlantic 10 victory before 4,584.

Towson (4-1, 1-1) never seized substantial momentum, was denied its first 5-0 start in 20 years, and will surely tumble from its No. 17 national ranking (and perhaps out of the poll altogether).

Schaefer was sacked nine times, lost two fumbles and threw his first interception in 121 passing attempts, against a well-conceived defensive plan by the Black Bears' coaching staff.

"We had to do something to prevent Schaefer from doing what he did against Hofstra," said Maine coach Jack Cosgrove, referring to the quarterback's last-quarter heroics in a 33-30 win two weeks ago. "I think we dented him nine times, and it's a testament to the ability of our front four."

Seven players produced sacks for Maine (3-2, 2-0), including two apiece by Matt King and Daren Stone. At least six of the takedowns occurred in important third- and fourth-down situations.

Schaefer managed reasonable numbers, passing for 290 yards and a touchdown, but, except for one scoring drive to open the second half, the Tigers never seriously threatened.

In the sophomore's defense, it wasn't a day for the passing game. The weather was cold and intermittently rainy, but Towson denied that was a factor.

"I was just holding on to it too long," said Schaefer, who completed 27 of 40 attempts but finished with minus-45 yards rushing because of the sacks. "I feel fine. I didn't take hard hits."

"We just did too many negative things," Towson coach Gordy Combs said. "Their ability to put pressure on our quarterback was the difference. They did a great job with the front seven. We had opportunities and let them slip away."

After being dominated for a half, the Tigers took the second-half kickoff and drove 70 yards in 10 plays with the aid of a roughing-the-passer penalty. Schaefer made a splendid cross-field throw to Andrae Brown (Milford Mill) over two defenders for the touchdown and Chris Desautels' kick brought the deficit to 14-7.

The Black Bears responded in kind with an 80-yard scoring march prolonged by a pass interference call against Tigers linebacker Brian Bradford in the end zone. Senior quarterback Ron Whitcomb ran in from the 2 - which he did again in the fourth quarter - and Maine had restored order.

On the next Tigers possession, Maine tackle Bruno Dorismond shook the ball loose from Schaefer and Derek Runnells recovered. After punting, the Black Bears stopped the opposition again on an interception by Jonathan Calderon.

The Tigers then had no choice but to throw on their last drive. Under those conditions, Schaefer was sacked on three consecutive plays and it was all over.

Maine already had a 7-0 edge when Stone, an All-Atlantic 10 preseason pick, picked up a punt blocked by Alex Goyins and sprinted into the end zone for a touchdown. The next two Towson possessions ended with sacks by the Black Bears.

It was Maine's first victory against a ranked team on the road in nine games. kent.baker@baltsun.com

Maine 7 7 7 7-28

Towson 0 0 7 0 -7

First quarter Me-Gordon 32 run (McNeill kick), 5:00.

Second quarter Me-Stone 21 blocked punt return (McNeill kick), 10:40.

Third quarter Tow-Brown 8 pass from Schaefer (Desautels kick), 9:41. Me-Whitcomb 2 run (McNeill kick), 5:29.

Fourth quarter Me-Whitcomb 2 run (McNeill kick), 2:24. A-4,584.

Me Tow

First downs 18 22

Rushes-yards 36-255 37-41

Passing 74 290

Comp-Att-Int 9-16-0 27-40-1

Return Yards 51 12

Punts-Avg. 4-37.3 3-21.7

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-2

Penalties-Yards 9-111 7-69

Time of Possession 25:43 34:17 Rushing-Maine, Gordon 14-102, Whitcomb 14-74, Cotrone 2-40, Fluellen 3-25, Callahan 2-12, Brusko 1-2. Towson, N.Williams 16-63, McClaude 5-17, Bushrod 0-5, Castor 2-2, Harrison 1-(minus 1), Schaefer 13-(minus 45). Passing-Maine, Whitcomb 9-14-0-74, Team 0-2-0-0. Towson, Schaefer 27-40-1-290. Receiving-Maine, Gordon 5-22, Fluellen 3-44, Pierre 1-8. Towson, Yancey 8-80, Brown 6-89, Harrison 5-35, N.Williams 3-38, M.Lee 3-34, McClaude 2-14.

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