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Tigers run over Pride for Senior Day win

Shane Simpson rushed for 202 yards and a touchdown against William & Mary.

Shane Simpson rushed for 202 yards and a touchdown against William & Mary.

Perhaps their playoff hopes went away many weeks ago, but there is a great ray of light for the Towson football team with the return of quarterback Morgan Mahalak. In his second game back from injury, Mahalak guided the Tigers to a 34-24 victory over William & Mary on Senior Day to get Towson out of the bottom of the CAA.

Maybe his final stats did not show a remarkable game, but the threat he poses at the position, especially the threat with his legs, opens up so much as the opposing defense has to be spread out all over the place in preparation for any number of big plays he’s capable of making. Against the Tribe, Towson took advantage of that with their ground game as they rushed to a team total 274 yards and three touchdowns. Freshman Shane Simpson alone rushed for 202 yards and a score, averaging 9.6 yards per carry.

William & Mary led by double digits at halftime, but the Tigers gashed the Tribe with the run after break with nearly 200 of their yards on the ground coming in the second half.

After having their initial drive stalled, the Tribe scored on their second time out when Kendall Anderson capped off off a 73-yard drive with a 14-yard run into the endzone.

The Tigers were able to get on the board on their next drive when Aiden O’Neill booted in a 27-yard field goal and took a 10-7 lead in the second quarter after Grayson Boyce darted into the endzone from three yards how. But he Tribe got into the endzone on their next two drives to take a 21-10 lead into the intermission.

Quarterback Steve Cluley completed an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jack Armstrong and then a 16-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Caskin with less than 90 seconds to go in the quarter.

What was killing the Tigers was their inability to stop the Tride on third down. In the first half, William & Mary converted six of eight attempts on third down and were a perfect 5-for-5 in the second quarter. Towson had just two third down conversion in the first half and failed on their only attempt on fourth down.

But after halftime the Tigers got a huge play they needed to spark them to the comeback victory. On just the second play of the third quarter Simpson broke free for a 70-yard touchdown run. The Pride did get three points on their next drive when Kris Hooper kicked a 21-yard field goal through the posts, but an 81-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Keon Paye tied the game a game at 24-24. Towson used those two huge plays as fuel to a victory. They were energized throughout the second half and their defense got some big stops too.

After Paye’s return, the Tribe were dropped after one eight yards before having to punt on their next possession.

Towson them mounted a long drive that extended into the fourth quarter that finished with another touchdown. Senior Christian Summers did his part on senior day and gave Towson a lead they wouldn’t lose with an 11-yard rush into the endzone, capping off a 14-play, 93-yard drive that took nearly seven minutes.

And while their offense was on the field for all that time, wearing down William & Mary’s defense, Towson’s defense was resting up. Following their touchdown drive, the Tigers forced a three-and-out. Against a defense that barely had five minutes of real time to rest up, the Tigers rips through them again with a heavy dose of the run game. Simpson gained 46 yards on the ground to lead the Tigers on a 12-play drive that went over six minutes again. Towson couldn’t get in the endzone, but went ahead by two scored with a 30-yard field goal.

Towson pretty much secured the victory when their rested defense once again shut down the Tribe’s offense and forced a punt with five minutes remaining. Towson couldn’t run out the clock, but the Tribe didn’t have the quick-strike ability to score two touchdowns in the less than three minutes they had when they finally got the ball back. Actually, they took nearly two and a half minutes to go just 22 yards on a drive that ended when Cluley was sacked by Max Tejada for a loss of nine on a fourth-and-22 conversion attempt.

The Tigers home schedule finished with the game against the Pride but Towson has one more game this season, which will take place next Saturday in a 2 pm clash at Rhode Island.

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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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