By: Jordan Cope, Senior Editor
Featured image courtesy of towsontigers.com
Towson returns home after a three-game road trip, in which the team went 1-2. The Tigers will take on the Villanova Wildcats, who are also coming off of a conference loss. Here are five things you need to know going into Saturday’s contest:
- Home sweet home: Towson returns home to Johnny Unitas Stadium for the first time since Sept. 2, when the team opened its 2017 campaign with a 10-0 win over Morgan State in the Battle for Greater Baltimore. Dating back to 2016, the Tigers are riding a three-game winning streak at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
- Exit Andy Talley, enter Mark Ferrante: Talley served as Villanova’s head coach for 32 years until his retirement in 2016. Talley was the winningest head coach in Villanova and CAA history. Following Towson’s 40-21 loss to Villanova last season on Sept. 17, Towson Head Coach Rob Ambrose said that he was glad to see Talley retire, because the seasoned Villanova head coach had owned the Tigers throughout the course of his career. The Wildcats are under the new leadership of Mark Ferrante. Ferrante was an assistant coach under Talley for 30 years. Ferrante comes into the contest with a 2-2 record in his first season as head coach of the Wildcats.
- Cat scratched: In their last five matchups with the Wildcats, the Tigers are just 2-3 and have been outscored by 36 points. In previous seasons, the Tigers had to gameplan for quarterback John Robertson, a 2012 Jerry Rice Award winner as the top freshman in the FCS. This year, Towson will have to gameplan for junior quarterback Zach Bednarczyk. Last year, Bednarczyk carved up Towson’s defense. He completed 20-of-26 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns.
- Offensive woes: It has been no secret that Towson’s offense has struggled this season. In their first game of the year, the Tigers scored just 10 points against Morgan State. The most the Tigers have scored this season is 17 points. Towson is dealing with the loss of sophomore running back Shane Simpson, who suffered an injury against Maryland two weeks ago. The Tigers are also led by a redshirt freshman quarterback, Ryan Stover. While Stover, has done a great job of managing games this season, he has yet to have a breakout performance that the team’s offense is so desperately craving.
- Colonial test: Towson begins a three-game stretch against ranked opponents. After their contest against the No. 8 Wildcats, the Tigers will battle No. 6 Richmond and No. 16 New Hampshire. If Towson is going to make a push for the postseason, the time to start is now.