Schaefer back in Towson win

Quarantined last week, QB has 2 TD passes

Towson 21 Villanova 13

October 22, 2006|By Matt Papuchis | Matt Papuchis,Special to the Sun

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- With his medical condition in question for much of the week, Towson sophomore quarterback Sean Schaefer didn't even practice until Friday - just 24 hours before the start of yesterday's game. And without him last week against Massachusetts, Towson was shut out at home for the first time since 1997.

But yesterday, Schaefer looked as though he had never been away - much to the delight of his teammates and coaches - throwing for 324 yards and two touchdown passes to help propel the Tigers to a 21-13 win over Villanova before 8,111 at Villanova Stadium.

Schaefer spent last week quarantined with an unspecified illness, missing every practice but Friday's walk-through.

"It was real tough, not being able to go out there with the team. It was one of the hardest things just being away from all the guys and the team," Schaefer said. "It was just great to be back."

Schaefer's return also signaled the return of Towson's offense. The unit that put up just 167 total yards a week ago amassed 425 yesterday, totaling 24 first downs and controlling the ball for more than 38 minutes.

Spreading the ball around to eight receivers, Schaefer completed 35 of 45 passes for the Tigers (5-2, 2-2 Atlantic 10), who ended a two-game losing streak.

Towson coach Gordy Combs said Schaefer's ability to distribute the ball was an important factor in the win.

"[Schaefer] was phenomenal," Villanova coach Andy Talley said. "Wow. What a performance. He threw the ball on the money."

Towson led 9-6 at halftime after getting an early safety on an errant punt snap and a 2-yard touchdown pass from Schaefer to Ryan Meehan (McDonogh) that capped an 80-yard drive in the second quarter.

At the start of the third quarter, the Tigers put together another 80-yard touchdown drive. Schaefer completed five passes for 32 yards on the drive and also had an 11-yard scramble, all of which set up Matt Castor's 3-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 15-6 lead with 9:01 to go in the third quarter.

On the Tigers' next possession, Villanova (2-5, 1-3) blocked Bill Shears' punt, taking over at the Tigers' 9-yard line. The Wildcats needed just two plays to cut the Towson lead to 15-13, with Matt Dicken scoring his second rushing touchdown of the game with 32 seconds left in the third quarter.

Towson knows well how a blocked punt can be a game-changing play. A blocked punt early in last year's contest against Villanova set the tone in the Tigers' 40-19 win.

But Towson responded on its ensuing possession, driving 72 yards to the Villanova 3-yard line. The Tigers fumbled on second-and-goal, but an interception by Jordan Manning two plays later set up Schaefer's 18-yard touchdown pass to Eric Yancey (eight catches, 131 yards) to put the Tigers up 21-13 with 9:10 left.

"It was important for us to control the clock and move the football," Combs said. "We did an excellent job and we held together as a team in a tough situation."

Towson also did a good job containing Villanova quarterback Melvin Burroughs. He was held to 71 passing yards- a stark contrast to the 232 he put up against the Tigers two seasons ago.

Towson 2 7 6 6 - 21

Villanova 6 0 7 0 - 13

First quarter Tow-Safety, 12:34. Vill-Dicken 1 run (kick blocked), 5:08.

Second quarter Tow-Meehan 2 pass from Schaefer (Toth kick), 7:59.

Third quarter Tow-Castor 3 run (kick failed), 9:01. Vill-Dicken 9 run (Marcoux kick), :32.

Fourth quarter Tow-Yancey 18 pass from Schaefer (kick failed), 9:10. A-8,111.

Tow Vill

First downs 24 13

Rushes-yards 32-101 28-95

Passing 324 71

Comp-Att-Int 35-45-0 11-26-1

Return Yards 0 40

Punts-Avg. 3-33.0 4-46.5

Fumbles-Lost 2-1 4-2

Penalties-Yards 10-70 5-44

Time of possession 38:04 21:56 RUSHING-Towson, Castor 10-36, Schaefer 6-35, N.Williams 13-34, A.Brown 1-(minus 1), Team 1-(minus 1), McClaude 1-(minus 2). Villanova, Dicken 15-78, Burroughs 6-24, May 4-17, Aa.Jones 2-6, Team 1-(minus 30). PASSING-Towson, Schaefer 35-45-0-324. Villanova, Burroughs 11-26-1-71. RECEIVING-Towson, M.Lee 9-84, Yancey 8-131, N.Williams 7-29, A.Brown 4-28, Arnold 3-25, Harrison 2-20, McClaude 1-5, Meehan 1-2. Villanova, S.Smith 3-25, May 2-4, Hughes 1-23, Sherry 1-7, Harvey 1-5, Koroma 1-4, Atkinson 1-3, Burroughs 1-0.

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