#30 Towson FCS Football 2016 Preview

Towson Tigers
Overall Rank: #30
#6 CAA
Towson’s slow start to the 2015 campaign kept them out of the playoffs. The Tigers lost at Elon 17-13 and followed it up with a 51-30 home defeat at the hands of James Madison. Towson managed to win five of their final six games, but it was not enough. Still, the Tigers had some momentum going late in the year and they will try and build off of that heading into 2016.
2015 Record: 7-4, 5-3
2015 Postseason: None
Coach: Rob Ambrose (43-41 at Towson, 43-41 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Jared Ambrose
Defensive Coordinator: Matt Hachmann
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Darius Victor, RB, 1,021 yards
Passing: Heath Dahlgren, QB, 106 yards
Receiving: Andre Dessenberg, WR, 392 yards
Tackles: Jordan Mynatt, LB, 60
Sacks: Zane Harps Upshur, DL, 4.0
Interceptions: Chris Tedder, LB, 1; Monty Fenner, DB, 1; Romell Haley, DB, 1
Other Key Returnees: RB Marquel Dickerson, FB Emmanuel Holder, QB Ellis Knudson, WR Christian Summers, LB Eric Handy, LB Diondre Wallace, DL Max Tejada
Key Losses: QB Connor Frazier, WR Jacquille Veii, WR Brian Dowling, S Donnell Lewis, LB Eddie Releford, K Sam Hurwitz
Most of the wins at the end of last season came because of an improving defense. On the year, Towson ranked fourth in the CAA in total defense and scoring defense, but they were better than that by November. With Zane Harps Upshur and Max Tejada, the line is in great shape. Those two combined for 7.0 sacks and 12.0 tackles-for-loss. This is not a great pass rushing team, but they certainly have potential. At linebacker, few teams return as much talent and experience as Towson. Jordan Mynatt, Eric Handy and Chris Tedder were second, third and fourth on the team in tackles last season, respectively. They should keep Towson as one of the better rush defenses in the conference. The secondary has some holes to fill, most notably Donnell Lewis, who led the team in tackles in 2015. Monty Fenner is coming off of a very promising freshman campaign and could emerge as a leader in the secondary.
Towson’s offense was a bit disappointing last year considering, but the weapons are certainly in place for a big turnaround. Running back Darius Victor is one of the best around. Last season he rushed for 1,021 yards and 15 scores. Victor is a workhorse and has the potential to rush for even more yardage than he did last year. Quarterback Connor Frazier is gone after throwing for 1,883 yards and rushing for 387 more. However, Towson has a replacement ready to go. Oregon transfer Morgan Mahalak is a great pickup for the Tigers. He was a four star recruit coming out of high school and has three years left to play for the Tigers. For now, there are some questions about rather or not he is ready to take over the team, but he certainly has the talent. Andre Dessengerg and Christian Summers are the receivers that will benefit from Mahalak’s arrival. 
The Bottom Line:
If everything works out with the offense, this could be a very good Towson team. The pressure will be on Mahalak to get the offense moving more effectively, but Coach Rob Ambrose can always rely on his workhorse in the backfield. It will not take long to figure out if Towson is ready to compete for a CAA title. They open CAA play on road against Villanova and Richmond. They will need to win at least one of those to stay in the conference title race. With New Hampshire and William & Mary coming to Johnny Unitas Stadium later in the season, Towson has very little margin for error.
Projected Postseason: None
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 167.5 (52nd in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 186.7 (75, 6)
Total Offense: 354.3 (78, 6)
Scoring Offense: 23.6 (74, 5)
Rushing Defense: 125.9 (20, 4)
Pass Defense: 192.5 (36, 5)
Total Defense: 318.5 (20, 4)
Scoring Defense: 21.5 (30, 4)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (57, 7)
Sacks: 2.09 (56, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.82 (53, 6)
Madness 2016 Recruit Rankings:
#7 Dymelle Parker
#58 Deshaun Wethington