College football scouting report: Towson at Rhode Island

November 18, 2011

No. 8 Towson (8-2, 6-1 Colonial Athletic Association) @ Rhode Island (3-7, 2-5)

Time: Saturday, 12:30 p.m.

Site: Meade Stadium, South Kingstown, R.I.

Radio: 1570 AM

Series: Rhode Island leads 6-5.

What's at stake: Towson looks to close out its impressive regular season with a win over Rhode Island and at least a share of the CAA championship. If the Tigers beat the Rams and New Hampshire defeats Maine, Towson will win the conference title outright. If Towson and Maine lose, there will be a four-way for the crown between the Tigers, Black Bears, Old Dominion and New Hampshire. Towson has already matched its best record as an FCS program. In 1993 and 1994, Towson finished 8-2. The Tigers will look to better that mark Saturday against the Rams.

Key matchup: The accolades continue to roll in for Tigers freshman running back Terrance West. The Northwestern grad was added this week to the watch list for the Walter Payton Award, given to the most outstanding player in the FCS. West, who has rushed for 1,190 yards and an FCS-best 25 touchdowns on 164 carries, faces a Rams defense that has a few notable playmakers. Senior defensive tackle Willie McGinnis has 10 tackles for loss this season and is fifth on the Rams' all-time list with 30.5. Sophomore linebacker Dave Zocco recorded a career-high 15 tackles last week in the Rams' 31-13 loss to James Madison. Junior linebacker Doug Johnson leads the CAA with 14.5 tackles for loss.

Players to watch: The Rhode Island offensive line will have to pay close attention to Towson defensive ends Frank Beltre and Romale Tucker. The juniors share the CAA lead in tackles by defensive linemen with 63 apiece. Beltre had 12 tackles in the Tigers' win over New Hampshire last weekend, while Tucker added six against the Wildcats. For the Rams, two wide receivers bear watching. Anthony Baskerville is the second-leading receiver in the CAA with 71.7 yards per game, and Brandon Johnson-Farrell (Arundel) has caught 39 passes for 512 yards and four touchdowns on the season.

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