By: Jordan Kendall, Asst. Sports Editor
File photo by Brendan Felch/ The Towerlight
Towson used a strong performance on the ground to control the clock which led to a 31-10 victory over William and Mary, their third straight win. Senior running back Yeedee Thaenrat rushed 24 times for 157 yards and a touchdown. The Tigers (7-4, 4-3 CAA) had nearly a 20 minute advantage in time of possession and had three drives that lasted over six minutes.
Towson’s defense did not allow a touchdown and held the Tribe (4-7, 2-5 CAA) to 87 rushing yards.
“I’ve been saying it week after week, defense is improving,” head coach Rob Ambrose said. “The red zone defense was improving. We’ve given up less big plays and then when we got into the red zone we got them to turn the ball over twice. Defense didn’t give up a touchdown, the offense did they fumbled the ball. Defense gave up three points against a CAA team, that’s pretty darn hard to do.”
Redshirt senior quarterback Tom Flacco threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt senior wide receiver Shane Leatherbury caught both of Flacco’s touchdowns and recorded 49 receiving yards.
William and Mary’s offense had multiple chances to get back into the game, but the Tiger defense made two defensive stops in the red zone as the Tribe managed just three points offensively.
Thanks to a 24-3 halftime lead, Towson was able to use a quiet second half to coast to victory.
In the second half, Leatherbury capped off Towson’s first drive of the half with his second touchdown. The Tigers used nearly seven minutes of game clock.
“If we were going to have a chance to win this game we were going to have to be able to run the ball, possess the ball, control the clock a little bit better than we had done in the past and we did that and that’s a testament to the kids up front.” Ambrose said.
Redshirt sophomore running back Adrian Feliz-Platt fumbled to begin the fourth quarter and the Tribe recovered. Despite a red zone opportunity, William and Mary failed to score on fourth down and Towson took over.
Senior kicker Aidan O’Neill added to his CAA-record field goal total with his 61st career made kick.
The Tigers defense shut down freshman quarterback Hollis Mathis in the first half. Mathis failed to complete a pass in the first half; however, he did complete one to a Tiger defender as junior safety S.J. Brown II grabbed the interception.
“We had to play great defense against the run,” Ambrose said. “We had to keep that young man (Mathis) in the pocket and make him relatively one dimensional. In the second quarter, Towson used a short field resulting in Leatherbury catching a touchdown.
Late in the first quarter, Feliz-Platt scored a touchdown capping off a 70-yard drive.
“AP (Feliz-Platt) and Yeedee (Thaenrat) ran really, really hard and as a former player I don’t think I’d wanna tackle them.” Ambrose said.
On the Tigers opening drive, Thaenrat’s longest rush of the year went for 51 yards. He scored on the next play.
Towson returns home for their regular season finale against the Elon Phoenix. This game will likely determine if the Tigers are selected for the FCS Playoffs, and Ambrose is well aware of the importance.
“If you’re not focused for the last regular season game of the year, you’re not a football player,” Ambrose said to Towson Sports Network.
Kickoff from Johnny Unitas Stadium is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m.