Tigers tumble in 4th quarter, lose on field goal

William & Mary 29 Towson 28

November 05, 2006|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,Sun Reporter

Johnny Unitas Stadium has not exactly been home sweet home for the Towson football team.

The Tigers suffered their third defeat in five games on their turf yesterday, and the latest was easily the most bitter of the group.

William and Mary, previously winless in the Atlantic 10 Conference, rallied from an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit and drove 70 yards to a game-winning field goal by Blair Pritchard with five seconds left to shock the Tigers, 29-28, and severely damage their postseason hopes.

Pritchard's 34-yard kick - his second from that distance in the final 4:48 -capped the comeback and completed a record day for the Tribe's attack, which gained 630 yards against a banged-up Towson defense. The yardage was the highest total ever allowed by the Tigers, besting the 614 Howard amassed against them in 1999.

William and Mary (3-6, 1-5) ended a nine-game conference losing streak by driving from its 30-yard line to the Towson 17 with no timeouts remaining, having exhausted its supply on the previous Tigers drive.

"They were kind of sitting back and dropping a lot of guys deep," said Tribe quarterback Mike Potts, who had a career-high 409 passing yards to exceed the output of Towson's Sean Schaefer (367). "We just took it slowly down the field and our guys did a real good job of getting out of bounds."

Towson (6-3, 3-3) botched its chance to put the game away on the previous possession when a holding penalty and a false start stymied its momentum. On fourth down from the Tribe 30, Schaefer tried to hit Eric Yancey near the end zone. William and Mary defender Fred Johnson appeared to interfere with Yancey, but no flag was thrown and the Tribe got the ball.

"I'd have to look at that," Tigers coach Gordy Combs said. "It looked like there was body contact, but my angle is different from the officials'."

Ultimately, Towson's biggest headache was an inability to stop the Tribe with a patchwork defensive unit. Standout linebacker Brian Bradford (knee) did not play, end John Webb struggled with a sprained ankle and tackle T.J. Foley was hampered by back pain.

Tribe running back Elijah Brooks accumulated a career-high 165 rushing yards, caught five passes for 33 yards and passed for a touchdown.

"I've been throwing ducks [wobbly passes] all during practice," said Brooks, who attended DeMatha High in Hyattsville. "I'm glad the coach decided to stick with me."

Two Tribe receivers, R.J. Archer and Joe Nicholas, surpassed 100 yards' worth of catches.

"They made the plays and we weren't able to make the tackles," said Towson defensive back Kenny Scott, who was an exception with a game-high 15 stops, including 14 unassisted.

The Tigers now definitely have to beat Richmond on the road and front-running James Madison at home to rate any consideration for postseason play.

kent.baker@baltsun.com

William & Mary 3 14 0 12-29

Towson 14 7 0 7 -28

First quarter WM-FG Pritchard 18, 11:33. T-McClaude 7 pass from Schaefer (Halbruner kick), 7:36. T-Yancey 39 pass from Schaefer (Halbruner kick), 2:59.

Second quarter WM-Nicholas 76 pass from Potts (Pritchard kick), 13:16. T-Arnold 31 pass from Schaefer (Halbruner kick), 8:03. WM-Nicholas 6 pass from E.Brooks (Pritchard kick), 2:25.

Fourth quarter T-Yancey 5 pass from Schaefer (Halbruner kick), 13:06. WM-McAulay 45 pass from Potts (pass failed), 11:14. WM-FG Pritchard 34, 4:48. WM-FG Pritchard 34, :05. A-2,465.

W&M Towson

First downs 27 23

Rushes-yards 29-209 26-88

Passing 421 367

Comp-Att-Int 30-46-1 33-51-1

Return Yards 14 0

Punts-Avg. 2-28.5 4-44.8

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1

Penalties-Yards 2-20 7-45

Time of Possession 29:46 30:14 Rushing-William and Mary, E.Brooks 22-165, Holmes 4-39, Potts 3-5. Towson, McClaude 11-65, Miles 2-16, N.Williams 7-15, Schaefer 6-(minus 8). Passing-William and Mary, Potts 28-44-1-409, E.Brooks 1-1-0-6, C.Taylor 1-1-0-6. Towson, Schaefer 33-51-1-367. Receiving-William and Mary, Archer 6-122, Nicholas 6-104, E.Brooks 5-33, E.Mack 4-49, Trinkle 3-20, McAulay 2-51, Holmes 2-29, Atchison 2-13. Towson, Arnold 11-119, Harrison 6-90, M.Lee 6-63, Yancey 4-66, McClaude 2-12, N.Williams 2-0, Perry 1-11, Brown 1-6.

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