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Towson and Morgan excited for renewed rivalry

From left to right: Towson AD Tim Leonard, Towson head coach Rob Ambrose, Morgan State head coach Fred T. Ferrier, and Morgan State AD Ed Scott, pose together to promote the renewed Battle for Greater Baltimore between the Tigers and Bears football teams.

It has been six years since the only two Division I schools with football in the Greater Baltimore area have played each other, but on September 2 at 6 pm, the Towson Tigers and the Morgan State Bears will renew their rivalry on the gridiron. This time, they hope to turn it will be the start of a long series that becomes the biggest college football event in the city for a long time to come.

On Tuesday afternoon on the rooftop deck at the Green Turtle in Towson, the head football coaches and Athletic Directors of both schools joined to express their excitement in the renewed and growing rivalry between the two schools.

“We’re extremely excited,” Morgan State Director of Athletics Ed Scott said. “What we’re doing today, a joint press conference, it’s a different approach to this model, and it shows we’re both committed to it.”

All-time, Towson owns the series lead 17-6 with the first meeting coming in 1979. The 23 meetings against each other are the most for either team against a non-conference opponent at the Division I level.

“We’re really excited to get this game back on our schedule,” Towson Director of Athletics Tim Leonard said. “I’m not sure why it had fallen off. When I got here, we were playing teams in other conferences, and it made no sense. We need some great FCS games, and we have a school right down the road with tremendous history and tradition. Moreover, it’s a team that we’ve played as much as anybody in our history, so we wanted to get this game going again.

“It’s all about the city of Baltimore and greater Baltimore. If you want great college football, you have that right in your back yard. Let’s have some fun with it and make it a rivalry. I’ve been excited to visit with Ed and his staff at Morgan, and they’ve been very responsive to make this a big deal.”

While Towson will host the game this year and Morgan State will host next year, the schools have worked together and will allow free student tickets for both sides, will invite each team’s opposing bands and cheerleaders and dance teams to the game. Ultimately, though, the hope is to have the game and the rivalry grow past just a home-and-home series in 2017 and 2018 and to a point where they play it every year, but the game can no longer be hosted in either Johnny Unitas Stadium or Hughes Stadium.

“By the time we’re a little older the venues that we own won’t be able to hold this game and this game gets played at M&T (Bank Stadium) in front of the entire city of Baltimore, and for one day it’s our day and our game,” Towson head coach Rob Ambrose said.

Morgan State head football coach Fred T. Farrier added: “Every kid wants to play in a big stadium with a big crowd where people are excited, and it’s a big deal when you do something in the game. For recruiting this is huge. For our kids to be able to see Baltimore kids and kids from Maryland see two really good football programs playing in a big game and televised, that’s just like playing in the SEC. This is our big time. Why can’t we have a big time football venue event that is a huge citywide deal that everybody supports?”

It will just take time to get to that point. The best rivalries are grown organically between the two team’s fan bases after years of great and exciting games, but to help the intensity, there will be a trophy up for grabs. The design of the trophy has yet to be completed, and there is still no name for it at this time either, but by September 2, it will be up for grabs, and the winning team will get to hoist it high over their heads and start their season off with a big victory. But for now, Scott is confident that this rivalry will take off simply because the demand for it was there.

“I think the students want it, they see each other across town,” he said. “The alumni definitely want it. There is history there; this rivalry started before I was born. And definitely, the community [wants it]. I think we have such a good product and being the only two football programs around it gives families a chance to have some entertainment and really show off these two institutions.”

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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