Towson football is a happy wanderer

STATE NOTEBOOK

Colleges

October 26, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun reporter

If past performance is any indication, Towson's football team is in for good fortune when it travels to Delaware on Saturday for a key Atlantic 10 game.

The 5-2 Tigers are unbeaten in three road games, winning at nonconference Elon, at Hofstra with a thrilling comeback engineered by quarterback Sean Schaefer, and at Villanova last weekend.

They are only .500 at Johnny Unitas Stadium, although the quality of the opposition (nationally ranked Maine and Massachusetts handed them the losses) has been a major factor in those results. Additionally, Schaefer missed UMass' 35-0 romp with an illness discovered the night before the game.

So, why have they been so successful away from home?

"I think we're getting to the point where we're becoming a more mature team," coach Gordy Combs said. "The seniors are the last recruiting class that played in the Patriot League and a bunch of them have stepped up. I think when we bring in the '07 [freshman] class, we'll have a full allowed number of scholarships [63] and we should be even better."

Towson's stunning 35-31 homecoming victory last year over a Delaware program that won the Division I-AA championship in 2003 and was rated fifth in the polls entering the game was the Tigers' first in the Atlantic 10, so the Blue Hens (4-3) will be looking for revenge in what is a neighborhood battle.

"We recruit hard against them," Combs said. "It seems like every young man we talk to is interested in Delaware, so you're trying to beat a program, one that's as close to I-A football as you can possibly get. And, a lot of our guys know their guys and vice versa."

Both teams have two league losses, so another one could put them on the fringes of the postseason picture, although the A-10 gets plenty of respect when playoff teams are chosen. As many as six conference schools could make the 16-team draw, depending on results the rest of the season.

Raring for Rattlers

Morgan State (4-4) will be trying to regroup from a lopsided loss in a tough venue at Florida A&M (4-3).

"The atmosphere is so much different there," Bears coach Donald Hill-Eley said of the Tallahassee, Fla., stadium. "Everybody knows how it is in Rattler country. All that orange and green and little babies are in the crowd shaking their rattlers at us."

Hill-Eley will be sticking with young Mario Melton at quarterback although veteran Byron Selby (Dunbar) returned from an injury to guide the team to its only touchdown in a 29-7 romp by Delaware State.

Et cetera

Navy's women's soccer team, the only undefeated and untied unit in the nation, is facing a major threat to that record tonight when ninth-ranked Penn State comes to Annapolis. At 18-0, the Midshipmen have the longest winning streak in the country. ... Andrea McGant became the first Coppin State volleyball player to surpass 1,000 digs and become the school's all-time leader. A senior, she had 1,010 entering this week's play. ... Salisbury's field hockey team, which has had an up-and-down season, will be seeking its 12th straight Capital Athletic Conference title starting Sunday. The Sea Gulls are seeded second behind Catholic, which won the teams' regular-season game, 1-0.

kent.baker@baltsun.com

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