Rob Ambrose concedes that CAA championship is not on Towson's radar

In third place in league standings, No. 13 Tigers need help from others to catch No. 8 Maine and No. 15 Delaware in race for conference title

November 05, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

The Towson football team captured at least a share of the past two Colonial Athletic Association championships. A third appears to be out of the picture.

Saturday night’s 32-31 loss to Delaware dropped the Tigers to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in the conference. They fell to third place in the league standings behind No. 8 Maine (8-1, 5-0) and the Blue Hens (7-2, 4-1), who jumped from No. 21 to No. 15 in the most recent Football Championship Subdivision poll published by The Sports Network.

Theoretically, there are a few scenarios where Towson – which fell from No. 7 to No. 13 – could grab a slice of the conference title, but coach Rob Ambrose acknowledged that possibility is no longer in the team’s grasp.

“It’s not in our control,” Ambrose said Monday. “Theoretically, it wasn’t in our control before the game started against Delaware because we don’t play Maine and they’re in the lead. So it’s not in our control. The best we can do is just go do what we know how to do and play good, hard football and rest first.”

Ambrose provided updates on running backs Terrance West and Sterlin Phifer. West, a junior who hails from Baltimore and graduated from Northwestern and leads the Football Championship Subdivision in rushing (1,608 yards) and touchdowns (25), appeared to injure his hand in the fourth quarter of that setback to Delaware.

But Ambrose declared West healthy, saying, “The bumps and bruises are completely fine.”

The news is not as rosy for Phifer. The fifth-year senior suffered a serious knee injury while getting dragged down after a 33-yard gain near the end of the third quarter Saturday night, and Ambrose said he is not likely to return this season.

“Sterlin is in pretty bad shape, and depending on what I hear from the doctors today, I don’t know if he’ll be back,” he said.

Despite an injury-plagued career, Phifer had worked himself into backing up West at the start of the 2013 campaign. Injured in the team’s 49-7 rout of Delaware State on Sept. 14, Phifer rehabbed strenuously to return before Saturday’s development.

Ambrose said the loss of Phifer (26 carries for 135 yards and one touchdown in four contests) will impact the team emotionally.

“It’s more of a heartfelt blow than it is a tangible blow,” he said. “Sterlin has been out since the Delaware State game, and he’s been rehabbing and working to get healthy and has done a tremendous job. I could not ask any more out of a guy like that. Here he is in his senior year, and he had two carries – one of them he busts for 20 yards, a big play and goes down again. It’s one of those things where we’d love to have him. We’ll find a way without him, but for a senior in his fifth year, you don’t want to see that kind of luck happen. It hurts.”

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