Towson vs. James Madison college football preview

November 22, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

James Madison (6-5, 3-4) @ Towson (9-2, 5-2)

When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Site: Johnny Unitas Stadium


Series: James Madison leads, 18-5-1

What's at stake: Towson has no shot at a third straight Colonial Athletic Association championship (No. 4 Maine has already clinched the title), but the Tigers have likely sewed up a spot in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. Still, the Tigers could fortify their resume with a victory against James Madison in the regular-season finale for both sides. But the Dukes have won the past eight meetings, with theTigers' most recent victory in the series coming Oct. 24, 1992, when they prevailed, 28-21. This Dukes squad is not as strong as previous incarnations, however. They have lost three of their past four games and are winless on the road this season (0-4). On the flipside, Towson is just 2-2 at Johnny Unitas Stadium and is looking to avoid its first losing record at home since 2010.

Key matchup: Since the last two meetings have been decided by four and three points in 2010 and 2012, respectively, field goals could prove pivotal, and that is where James Madison has the advantage. Senior Cameron Starke ranks second on the school's all-time field goals list with 36 and has converted 71.4 percent (11-of-15) of his attempts. Meanwhile, Towson senior Drew Evangelista has connected on just 45.5 percent (5-of-11) of his field-goal attempts and has missed three of his past four tries.

Player to watch: Tigers junior running back Terrance West leads the nation in rushing (1,765 yards) and total touchdowns (28), but the Baltimore native and Northwestern graduate might face some resistance from Dukes senior Stephon Robertson. The inside linebacker ranks second in the country in tackles per game (11.8) and 18th in tackles for a loss (1.5 per game).

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