By: Jordan Kendall, Senior Staff Writer
Photo by Cody Campbell/ The Towerlight
Towson Football redshirt senior linebacker Christian Dixon was recently awarded the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Defensive Player of the Week.
He received the award for his efforts in the Tigers 28-7 upset win over 12th ranked University of Rhode Island Rams on Oct. 16. Dixon set a new career high with 11 tackles, four tackles for loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble.
Towson’s defense held Rhode Island to 162 total yards and gave up single digit points to a CAA opponent for the first time since 2016. The Rams were held to an average of 2.7 yards per play.
“A happy, healthy, focused Christian Dixon makes us very very good,” Head coach Rob Ambrose said. “He’s been here long enough that he understands everything we’re doing and why we want to do it and how it’s supposed to be done.”
Through eight games, Dixon is among the CAA’s top defensive players statistically. He is tied for first with four forced fumbles, is top ten in solo tackles with 32 tackles, top 15 in tackles for loss with eight and a half tackles, and top 10 in sacks with four. Dixon credited his defensive teammates for his success so far.
“My team, without them I wouldn’t be anything,” Dixon said. “My d-line doing a good job, my secondary helping me out as well. They’re really the ones that helped me get the award and become one of the best in the conference.”
Dixon has been a Tiger since 2017, he spent his first season as a redshirt and had limited production in 2018. He became a starter in 2019 and started 11 games, finishing with 72 tackles and tying a team best with 4.5 sacks. Dixon has become one of the leaders on defense, providing valuable experience and knowledge to his teammates.
“Every time he speaks he speaks from a position of intelligence and wisdom that everyone listens to.” Ambrose said.
The Tigers defense has taken a step forward in 2021 compared to previous years. Through eight games, Towson’s pass defense is fourth in the CAA allowing less than 190 yards per game. They have held opposing quarterbacks to a 56% completion percentage which is the second lowest in the conference.
Despite the success in pass defense, the run defense is the second worst in the CAA through seven games. They have allowed over 182 rushing yards per game and 1,456 total yards, both are highest in the conference.
“We’re making too many mental errors when we’re out there as far as gaps and things like that,” redshirt senior S.J. Brown II said. “But we got it all fixed up in the film room and that shouldn’t happen again.”
In a recent game TU played vs William and Mary, the defense gave up 339 rushing yards and 529 yards of total offense. William and Mary Tribe also scored touchdowns on four of their five red zone opportunities. They took an early 21-7 lead after the first quarter and went on to win 40-14.
The Tribe had three running backs combine for 33 rushes and 249 yards. The team averaged almost seven yards an attempt. Junior running back Donavyn Lester led William and Mary with 13 rushes for 99 yards and three touchdowns.
“We need to tackle a little bit better, wrap up, hold onto the running back a little tighter and the quarterback tighter because they were real slippery but we’ve been working on it this week,” Fifth year defensive lineman Marcus Bowman said.
TU faced the University at Albany on Oct. 30 at Unitas Stadium. Through eight games, the University at Albany’s Great Danes have the worst rushing offense in the CAA. They have 601 yards and are averaging 75 per game.
Albany’s ground game has relied almost entirely on senior running back Karl Mofor. Through eight games he is fifth in the conference with 498 rushing yards. He is averaging 73.3 yards per game which is fifth best.
Dixon said the focus heading into the game is on doing what Towson does best.
“Playing our game, getting back to what we do,” Dixon said. “We just basically just gotta come out and play like we usually do.”
TU Football looks to face the University of Richmond at the E. Claiborne Robins Stadium in Richmond at 2 p.m. on Nov. 6.