Tigers can’t claw their way to victory

Towson players tackle a New Hampshire opponent. Photo by Joe Noyes.

 

By Jordan Kendall, Assistant Sports Editor

File Photo by Joe Noyes/ The Towerlight

The No. 10 Tigers failed to extend their five-game winning streak as they fell 40-36 against Delaware Saturday afternoon at Delaware Stadium. Head Coach Rob Ambrose knew the challenge the Tigers had ahead, including redshirt senior linebacker Troy Reeder. “He’s one of the best linebackers to ever play in this league.”

Towson got off to a strong start, as it has done many times this season, with a 10-play 53 yard drive resulting in a 27-yard field goal from junior kicker Aiden O’Neill. The Blue Hens failed to respond and were forced to punt, but a high snap went over the redshirt junior punter Nick Pritchard’s head and resulted in a safety.

With a 5-0 lead to end the first quarter the Tigers took advantage of the turnover, marching 71 yards on eight plays for another short field goal

Delaware responded with a 13-play 77 yard drive, taking nearly eight minutes off the clock. Redshirt senior tight end Charles Scarff caught a five-yard touchdown from redshirt junior quarterback Pat Kehoe to put the Blue Hens on the board.

Special teams continued to be a difficulty for Delaware, as it missed the extra point attempt. On  the ensuing drive, redshirt junior quarterback Tom Flacco found sophomore wide receiver Jabari Allen for a touchdown to give Towson a 15-6 advantage.

On Towson’s next defensive possession, redshirt junior linebacker Robert Heyward forced a fumble and the visitors recovered. O’Neill nailed a 50-yard field goal to give the Tigers an 18-6 lead heading into the half.

The Blue Hens came out firing in the second half as senior wide receiver Vinny Papale caught a 49 yard pass to set up a goal line rushing score by senior running back Kani Kane. Flacco responded with two 12-yard completions, one to redshirt junior wide receiver Shane Leatherbury, the other to redshirt junior running back Shane Simpson.

Flacco ran for 14 yards after the Simpson catch, but the Tigers could not get the touchdown and O’Neill hit his fourth field goal of the game. Delaware could not respond and lined up to punt, but another high snap went over Pritchard and Towson recovered to set up first and goal.

Towson took advantage of this mistake as Flacco found Jabari Allen in the left corner of the endzone for an acrobatic touchdown, but the Blue Hens answered with back to back touchdowns to cut the deficit to one.

Midway through the final quarter, Kane rushed for his second score of the game, and Delaware took its first lead of the game.

Towson regained the lead with a 70-yard drive ending in an 11-yard touchdown run by Simpson. The Tigers completed a two point conversion to increase their lead to 36-33.

With two minutes remaining, the Blue Hens drove down the field and secured the game winning touchdown.

Flacco passed for 225 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Simpson rushed for 123 yards and a score, averaging six yards a carry. Allen hauled in nine passes for 86 yards and two scores. O’Neill hit all four of his field goals. The Tigers had 11 rushes for ten or more yards, and four passes for 15 or more yards.Despite this offensive production, the team could not pull out the win. Coach Ambrose was not satisfied with the outcome, but knows there is plenty of football remaining. ““We are hurting a bit, but we earned the right to be hurting a little bit, too many mistakes to win against a really good football team.  Now we will find out what we are made of. Life is never about what happened but how you respond.”

The Tigers head back home to Johnny Unitas Stadium for their homecoming game against Maine on Saturday Nov. 3. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

 

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