Tigers bounce back and tame the Bison

 

By Jordan Kendall, Assistant Sports Editor

File Photo by Joe Noyes/The Towerlight

From the moment the No. 18 Tigers forced a punt on the first drive of the game, it was clear that Towson was going to be the better team. In a historic game where multiple school records were either tied or broken, Towson (4-3, 1-2 CAA) defeated the Bucknell Bison 56-7. 

“I congratulate my team on winning, it feels a lot better,” head coach Rob Ambrose said. “There used to be a time when we lined up against Bucknell and took a butt whooping. And then on occasion, we’d find a way to beat them, but this a little bit better.”

Redshirt senior quarterback Tom Flacco broke the school record for touchdown passes in a game with six, all of them coming in the first half. Flacco moved into fifth place on the school’s all-time passing touchdown list and was recognized as the CAA Offensive Player of the Week for the first time this season. 

Flacco also received a shoutout from ESPN for his performance.

Redshirt senior wide receiver Shane Leatherbury tied the school record by catching five of Flacco’s touchdowns. The record was originally set by Andrae Brown in 2005. 

“It’s crazy, it’s amazing, coach Ambrose set me up in the red zone,” Leatherbury said. “Tom (Flacco) put it on the money every time, I didn’t have to do much.”

Towson already had the momentum and energy heading into the second half, and it continued during the opening kickoff. Sophomore wide receiver D’Ago Hunter returned the kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown.

In the second half, the Tigers began inserting multiple backups, including redshirt junior running back Aaron Speight. A transfer from Division-III Susquehanna, Speight scored his first Division-I touchdown late in the third quarter.

To end the game, redshirt sophomore linebacker Marcel Allen intercepted a pass returned for 34 yards.

“These games are fun, I’m honestly most excited about that Marcel Allen pick at the end of the game,” Flacco said. “I’ve seen that a couple of times on scout team he catches the ball on me it’s pretty aggravating so it’s pretty cool to see him do that in a game.”

The Tigers held Bucknell (1-6, 1-1 Patriot League) to 161 total yards of offense and forced two turnovers. The first was a forced fumble by redshirt junior linebacker Bryce Carter and recovered by redshirt senior linebacker Malik Tyne. The recovery led to Leatherbury’s second touchdown of the quarter.

Towson controlled the game on the ground. Senior running back Yeedee Thaenrat and redshirt sophomore running back Adrian Feliz-Platt ran for 112 and 101 yards, respectively. This was the first time since 2012 that the Tigers had multiple running backs eclipse 100 yards. This was a contrast to Towson’s previous two games in which the team was held under 95 total yards in each game.

“This is the game we needed,” Ambrose said. “We needed to practice hurt and still succeed we needed to play hurt and succeed. Our guys decided our goals and our team was more important than our own discomfort.”

The Bison had their only big play with a 52-yard pass, setting up a touchdown run for their only points of the game, 

“They kinda ran their base stuff which you got to respect,” Flacco said. “They came in here and said we’re gonna do what we’re good at as a defense and we were prepared for that.”

The Tigers return to conference play this week as they travel to Harrisonburg, Virginia to face No. 2 James Madison on Saturday, Oct. 26. Kickoff from Bridgeforth Stadium is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

The next home game for Towson will be on Nov. 2 when the Tigers host the Delaware Blue Hens at Johnny Unitas Stadium at 2 p.m.

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