By: Jordan Kendall, Assistant Sports Editor
File photo by Joe Noyes/ The Towerlight
The Tigers celebrated family weekend with a 29-13 victory over William & Mary Saturday afternoon at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
After forcing a punt on the opening drive, Towson (5-1, 3-0 CAA) marched its offense to the red zone before junior kicker Aiden O’Neill missed a field goal. The Tigers bounced back as quickly as redshirt junior quarterback Tom Flacco got into a rhythm, completing two passes to redshirt senior wide receiver Sam Gallahan to get back in the red zone.
Taking advantage of a facemask penalty on the Tribe, Flacco ran for 14 yards and sophomore running back Kobe Young capped off the drive with a touchdown to put Towson up 7-0. O’Neill hit a 46 yard field goal to start the second quarter giving the Tigers an early double digit lead.
Midway through the quarter, Flacco lost the ball on a strip sack, but Towson recovered. Coming off a strong performance last week in which he recorded a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, redshirt junior running back Shane Simpson caught a pass for 23 yards to put the Tigers inside Tribe territory. Despite Towson gaining momentum, the drive stalled and O’Neill’s kick was blocked and returned for a touchdown. The Tribe missed the ensuing extra point.
With two minutes left before halftime, junior running back Albert Funderburke caught a 27-yard pass to get the Tribe in Towson territory. Funderburke finished off the drive with a goal line rushing touchdown to give William & Mary a 13-10 advantage going into the break.
Head Coach Rob Ambrose stressed that he wasn’t satisfied with the effort he saw in the first half.
“That’s not the standard we expected from ourselves,” Ambrose said.
After both teams exchanged punts to begin the second half, Towson marched down the field on its second drive of the period. Simpson ran in from nine yards out to regain the lead for the Tigers.
On Towson’s next drive, Flacco peeled off on a 35-yard run to put the team in scoring position, but a failed fourth down conversion halted the drive.
After this stop, Dean Rotger entered the game at quarterback for the Tribe and immediately took a shot deep. This led to a defensive holding and a first down, but William and Mary failed to take advantage and punted.
Flacco looked to bounce back from the last failed drive as he scrambled for 17 yards and completed a 14-yard pass to redshirt junior wide receiver Brent Richardson to put Towson in scoring position heading into the fourth quarter.
The Tigers capitalized on the good field position as sophomore wide receiver Jabari Allen made an impressive one-handed catch in the back corner of the endzone to give the team a sizeable 23-13 lead.
“That might be one of the best catches in this stadium’s history,” Ambrose said. “It’s a bold statement but an honest statement.”
Midway through the quarter, the Tribe missed a 35-yard field goal and junior running back Yeedee Thaenrat busted off a 53-yard touchdown run to seal the win for Towson. Ambrose said that play was reminiscent of when Towson alum Terrance West played for the team.
“It was the same call Terrence made his money on while he was here.”
Next, Towson heads to upper New York to take on Albany in the first of a two-game road trip. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Tom and Mary Casey Stadium.