As the backup to junior Terrance West, he of highlight reel runs, Towson freshman running back Darius Victor has the unenviable task of getting his blood flowing in pre-game warmups before dialing it back down and waiting on the sideline for his turn.
But Victor said he does not mind entering a game cold.
"Coach [Reno] Ferri [who coaches the running backs] always has me ready to go on the sideline,” Victor said. “Every session, he’s like, ‘You warmed up? You warmed up?’ So that’s not a problem. I just go in and wait for my name to be called and keep the plays going."
Victor made his fair share of plays in the Tigers’ 48-28 win against visiting Fordham on Saturday in a NCAA Football Championship Subdivision tournament second-round contest at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson.
He rushed for a career-high 105 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries. He also caught one pass that he turned into a 41-yard score – the longest reception of his career.
Victor, a Hyattsville native who graduated from Northwestern High School, may have had a little extra kick in his engine after getting his first taste of the playoffs, Towson coach Rob Ambrose said.
“This was his first postseason game, and from the way he played, it was obvious that he wanted to make this a good one,” Ambrose said. “The ability to have multiple guys at the same position with quality players is clearly an advantage for us, especially in the run game. Somebody today ran with a purpose.”
Victor was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Colonial Athletic Association last week after he rushed 65 times for 410 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season. He did so despite getting far fewer opportunities than West, who ranked first in the nation in rushing average (155.4) and rushing touchdowns (30).
Victor denied that he felt any pressure to play as well as West does when he replaces West for a series or two.
“Terrance is a great role model,” Victor said. “I try to [model] myself after him. I know I have the ability to do it. But Terrance is great. I just watch him play. I just don't want to be a disappointment.”
West carried the ball 24 times for 76 yards against the Rams, which was his second-lowest total of the season. But he scored three times, leading Fordham coach Joe Moorhead to marvel at the Tigers’ offensive prowess.
“They’re two great backs,” he said. “You’ve got to do something to stop those guys, and for how well Towson runs the ball, I know their running backs get a ton of deserved credit, but I think the thing that goes overlooked is how good the offensive line is for Towson.
"Those guys are tremendous. They do a great job, and if you don’t commit that many guys to the box to stop the run, they’re going to run it up and down the field on you.”