By Mari Dreher-Smith, contributing writer
Towson football takes on the Monmouth Hawks in their home opener after a loss to the University of Maryland on Saturday, Sep. 2. The Tigers, after a winning 2022 season of 6-5 overall, returned with high hopes and the expectation of a fight but fell to the Terps, 38-6. Before the game began, the question of who the starting quarterback would be hung in the air, and as the first snap arose so did Nathan Kent.
“Nathan and Sean [Sean Brown] kind of narrowed themselves to the lead of this thing,” said head coach Pete Shinnick. “Nathan put us in a competitive and better situation. Sean did a good job; it’s just Nathan did a better job.”
Before the game against Maryland, Shinnick said that “Maryland is a huge task for game number one.” That was proven to be true when the Tiger’s only points on the board were from two field goals.
“I felt like we didn’t play as well as we were capable of. I feel there is a better Towson football team to be seen than the one our fans saw. With that in mind, this week was really trying to get us to a place where we could be a little more consistent,” said Shinnick.
We often saw the Tiger defense allow for gaps to be created that quarterback, Taulia Tagovailoa, easily took advantage of. He ran his running backs directly through and down the field. The defensive team exchanged blows with Maryland but inevitably lost 449 yards while only gaining 276.
“We need to better capitalize on the opportunities presented. We have the playmakers to make plays, it just actually doing it,” said Kent. “Going into this week, everyone on the field has to give everything they have, we won’t ever give anything less than our best effort.”
When the Tigers ran the ball, Devin Matthews, who gained 48 yards for his team, was often left unprotected against the Terps.
“It was more so a first game of the season vibe I was getting. It’s the first time this group is together, so it was more of an adversity thing,” said Matthews. “I did tell my boys to not let this Maryland game get in their heads. It’s more so a next week, next play thing. Nobody likes losing. We have a standard for ourselves.”
So, the question is: What’s next for the Tigers? In preparation against Monmouth, Shinnick talked about Towson’s defensive approach.
“This week we’ll be trying to put ourselves in a better situation. We need to eliminate the plays that set us back,” said Shinnick.
Towson will face off against Monmouth on Saturday, Sep. 9 at 6 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium.