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Tigers finally win again in Mahalak’s return

By: Myles Nelson

Morgan Mahalak missed six week with an injury and the Tigers failed to win any of those games, but upon his return they earned a 23-6 win over Elon.

Morgan Mahalak missed six week with an injury and the Tigers failed to win any of those games, but upon his return they earned a 23-6 win over Elon.

After losing six games in a row, the Towson Tigers finally got back in the win column with a 23-6 win over Elon. This game also featured the return of Tigers quarterback Morgan Mahalak. Mahalak has been out with an injury since Towson’s last win on September 10 against Saint Francis.

“It’s been a tough year I think for everybody. For me, I never really got hurt like that. I’ve never been out for a period of time, so it’s been tough. But I feel like it’s given me a good perspective going forward,” Mahalak said about watching his team play during his injury.

Towson received the ball to open the game. The Tigers first play from scrimmage was a 23 yard run by Shane Simpson. Simpson’s 55 rushing yards on the drive were enough to get the Tigers in field goal range. Aidan O’Neill gave Towson a three point lead with a career long 47-yard field goal.

Elon’s first drive ended in a punt. It looked as if Towson’s second drive would end with a punt as well. However, on third and 14, Mahalak avoided a sack, and scrambled to his right before finding Christian Summers for a 39-yard gain. Two plays later, Mahalak would find Summers again for a 24-yard touchdown. It was the Tigers’ first touchdown in nine quarters.

After the game, Mahalak reassured the press that he was playing at 100-percent health, even though he was a bit rusty. His rust is possibly what lead to him admittedly calling the wrong play on his first touchdown.

Coming into their fourth drive of the game, the Elon Phoenix had run 12 plays for a total of 19 yards. On this drive, the offense finally started moving. The 14 play, 58 yard drive ended with a 39-yard field goal by John Gallagher. After a quick three and out by Towson, Elon got the ball back less than two minutes before half time. Elon couldn’t get anything going, and were forced to punt. Simpson would return the punt 29 yards to the Elon 23-yard line. The Tigers were able to get another field goal before the half. Towson enters half time with a 13-3 lead.

Elon got the ball to open the second half. After a few plays, De’Sean McNair exploded out of the backfield for a 42-yard run. A couple plays later McNair would fumble on the one yard line and the Tigers’ D’Sean Cummings would recover it.

“We had a lot of defensive players just crowding to the ball. You see the ball pop out, you see the ball, get on it. That’s what the defensive staff teaches us, and that’s what we do day in and day out, so I just got on the ball,” Cummings said.

On the Tigers’ next drive, Simpson would rip off a 57-yard run before Mahalak threw an interception on the very next play. Chris Blair would return the interception 20 yards, where the Phoenix offense got started on their own 47. The highlight of this drive would be Thompson squeezing ball through a hole in Towson’s defense for a 16-yard gain to Jeremiah Bridges. Once again, Elon wouldn’t get into the end zone, and the drive ended with another field goal.

The fourth quarter started with Towson leading 13-6. Towson opened the quarter with a punt, but Towson finally got back in the end zone with 10:01 left to play. A 26-yard pass to Andre Dessenberg capped off a seven play, 65-yard drive.

“The knock on this group all season has been that they haven’t finished anything. I kept telling the offensive line, and defensive line, especially in the fourth quarter, here’s your chance. Here’s your chance to finish one, “head coach Rob Ambrose said.

Against Elon they finished, and got the win. To go along with his two touchdowns, Mahalak completed 12 passes for 148 yards. Simpson contributed 187 yards on the ground. Next week the Tigers are home again to take on William & Mary at 12 p.m.

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Myles Nelson

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