Scouting reports: Towson vs. New Hampshire and Norfolk State vs. Morgan State

November 11, 2011|By Chris Eckard, The Baltimore Sun

No. 7 New Hampshire (7-2, 5-1) @ No. 12 Towson (7-2, 5-1 Colonial Athletic Association)

Time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Site: Johnny Unitas Stadium

Radio: 1570 AM

Series: New Hampshire leads 7-0.

What's at stake: In a critical contest between two of the three teams tied in first place in the CAA, Towson will look to beat New Hampshire for the first time in program history. The Tigers are coming off a 40-30 win against Maine, which gives them a school-record five CAA wins this season, and will honor their 13 seniors before the game. The Wildcats have won three straight and have outscored the Tigers by an average of 52-17 in the teams' past five meetings.

Key matchup: New Hampshire and Towson have the two best offenses in the CAA. Both average more than 400 total yards, but the teams about it in different ways. The Tigers have relied on a ground game spearheaded by running back Terrance West, while the Wildcats have the conference's most prolific passing attack. New Hampshire QB Kevin Decker has completed more than 70 percent of his passes for 2,480 yards and 16 touchdowns this season.

Players to watch: West, Towson's freshman phenom, continues add to his impressive season. Last week, he ran for a career-high 183 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries. He leads the country in scoring and has rushed for 100-plus yards in each of the past five games. New Hampshire TE Sean Cullen has become an important piece of the Wildcats' offense in the past four weeks. After making just one reception for 17 yards in the first five games, Cullen has 169 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the past four games.

No. 22 Norfolk State (8-2, 6-1) @ Morgan State (5-4, 4-2 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference)

Time: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Site: Hughes Stadium

Radio: 88.9 FM

Series: Norfolk State leads 13-10.

What's at stake: Morgan State will look to avenge last week's disappointing blowout loss with an upset of Norfolk State, which sits in first place in the MEAC. After holding Delaware State scoreless two weeks ago, the Bears allowed 49 points to Bethune-Cookman last week. Norfolk State, which clinched a share of the MEAC title with a 45-3 win against Savannah State last week, is looking to earn the conference's automatic berth in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs with a win.

Key matchup: Norfolk State QB Chris Walley has torched defenses all season with his arm and his legs. The senior threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 72 yards and two more touchdowns last week. The Bears' defense needs to recover from a second-half meltdown last week if they are to have any chance of stopping Walley from shredding their secondary. One of those players hoping to slow Walley will be sophomore CB Kenneth Ridley, who has a team-high four interceptions this season.

Players to watch: Morgan State continues to get impressive performances its running back committee every week. Junior Travis Davidson rushed for a game-high 133 yards on 17 carries, including a 44-yard touchdown, last week. Norfolk State received surprising production last week from sophomore WR Derrick Demps, who set career highs in catches (five) and yards (106) and caught the first two touchdowns of his college career.

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