#14 Towson FCS Football 2019 Preview

Towson Tigers
Overall Rank: #14
#3 CAA
 Towson Logo
Towson got off to a great start last season. In the middle of October they were sitting at 6-1 with wins over then top 15 ranked Villanova and Stony Brook. Their only loss came at Wake Forest. But then the schedule got even tougher and the Tigers lost three of their last four regular season contests. And, even more disappointingly, Towson lost at home in the first round of the playoffs to Duquesne by a score of 31-10. However, after missing the playoffs for four straight seasons, the 2018 campaign was a good stepping stone to better things to come in 2019.
2018 Record: 7-5, 5-3
2018 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Rob Ambrose (59-59 at Towson, 59-59 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Rob Ambrose
Defensive Coordinator: Eric Daniels
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Tom Flacco, QB, 742 yards
Passing: Tom Flacco, QB, 3,251 yards
Receiving: Shane Leatherbury, WR, 885 yards
Tackles: Robert Heyward, LB, 99
Sacks: Bryce Carter, DL, 6.5
Interceptions: Keon Payne, LB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Shane Simpson, RB Kobe Young, WR Jabari Allen, OL Aaron Grzymkowski, DB Terrill Gillette, DB Brandon Shuman, LB Mantriel Reaves, K Aidan O’Neill
Key Losses: WR Sam Gallahan, WR Brent Richardson, OL Matt Kauffman, LB Diondre Wallace, DB Monty Fenner, DL Grant Udinski
Quarterback Tom Flacco returns to lead the CAA’s best offense. Last year the unit ranked first in the conference in passing offense, total offense and scoring offense. This year should be more of the same and even better. Flacco threw for 3,251 yards and ran for 742 more. In total he accounted for 32 touchdowns. His top three pass catchers are back too. Wide receivers Shane Leatherbury and Jabari Allen combined to catch 120 passes for 1,636 yards and 15 touchdowns. And then there is do-it-all Shane Simpson. He caught 39 passes for 356 yards and also rushed for 711 yards. Simpson is also one of the best return men in the game. With Kobe Young and Yeedee Thaenrat joining the ground game, the Tigers are absolutely loaded with skill players who can make big plays.
The defense was not great last year, but now this is a pretty experienced group who should take a pretty big step forward. The Tigers do need to get to the quarterback more consistently though. Bryce Carter tallied 6.5 sacks and 14.0 tackles-for-loss last season, but he needs some help. Robert Heyward and Keon Payne are both experienced linebackers who combined for 173 tackles last season. They have been productive, but they will need to play better when it comes to run defense. The secondary was pretty good last year and Terrill Gillette and Brandon Shuman return to keep that momentum moving forward. If the pass rush can improve, Towson’s secondary could be much, much improved.
The Bottom Line:
As always, the schedule is going to be difficult in the CAA. Towson has to play both Maine and James Madison on the road and they host Delaware and Elon in November. Even in the tough CAA, the Tigers got an unfortunate draw. The non-conference games are not easy either. The season begins with a trip to The Citadel before Towson hosts North Carolina Central, a MEAC contender, the following Saturday. And then it is off to Maine and a home contest with Villanova before another non-conference date at Florida. With a schedule like that, Towson is going to have to earn a trip to the playoffs, but they have the talent to not only make the playoffs, but win the conference title.
Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs
2018 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 190.0 (39th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 275.0 (18, 1)
Total Offense: 465.0 (18, 1)
Scoring Offense: 34.5 (15, 1)
Rushing Defense: 187.4 (77, 12)
Pass Defense: 202.3 (44, 8)
Total Defense: 389.7 (66, 12)
Scoring Defense: 28.8 (69, 10)
Turnover Margin: 0.08 (53, 6)
Sacks: 1.75 (75, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.92 (105, 9)
HERO Sports 2019 Recruit Rankings:
#93 Charles Murphy
#281 Khalil Gary