#8 Towson FCS Football 2012 Preview

George Hammond

Towson Tigers

Overall Rank: #8
#2 CAA
Towson FCS College Football 2012 Team Preview
Towson Team Page


The “Turnaround Tigers” were a remarkable story in 2011 and figure to be a prominent figure in the FCS ranks again this season. Before last year, the Tigers had lost 26 of 28 Colonial Athletic Association contests. But last season, under third-year coach Rob Ambrose, the Tigers went 9-3 and earned their first CAA title. They made the FCS playoffs and eventually finished number nine in the nation. Five Tigers received All-American recognition, and Ambrose was named winner of the Eddie Robinson Award as the 2011 FCS Coach of the Year. Towson won’t surprise anyone in the CAA this year. The Tigers were the coach’s preseason pick to win the conference crown again in 2012.

2011 Record: (9-3, 7-1)
2011 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Rob Ambrose (12-21-3 at Towson, 12-21-3 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Rob Ambrose
Defensive Coordinator: Matt Hachmann

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Terrance West, RB, 1,294 yards
Passing: Grant Enders, QB, 2,081 yards
Receiving: Tom Ryan, WR, 560 yards
Tackles: Jordan Dangerfield, S, 93 tackles
Sacks: Frank Beltre, DE, 4; Alexander DiSanzo, LB, 4
Interceptions: Alexander DiSanzo, LB, 3; Kenton Powell, LB, 3

Other Key Returnees: OT Eric Pike, C  Doug Shaw, OG Charles Johnson, WR  Leon Kinnard, TE James Oboh, DT Matt Morgan, DE Romale Tucker, LB Danel White, K D.J. Soven

Key Losses: OT Henry Glackin, FB Tyler Wharton, TB Tremayne Dameron, DT Marcus Valentine, SS Nick Oates

Can we just say the entire team? Here’s an example of how loaded Towson might be in 2012. Its top five receivers all return this year. And let’s see: experienced quarterback – check; outstanding running back – check; veteran offensive line – check; talented wide receivers, check ... you get the picture. The offense is scary. In 2011, the Tigers averaged 34.8 points a game and scored at least 30 points in 10 of 12 contests. Sophomore Terrance West is the focal point of the unit as he rushed for 1,294 yards in 2011, the third-highest total in school history. In addition, he led the FCS with 29 TDs. If teams try to stop West, quarterback Grant Enders will go to the air where the veteran can count on senior wide receiver Tom Ryan (39 catches) and tight end James Oboh (18.6 yards a reception). There are four returning starters on the offensive line and nine returning starters on defense. If that’s not enough, even the placekicker, D.J. Soven, who made seven of eight field goals last year returns.

Obviously, it’s not the offense so it must be the defense, right? It might be, but with nine returning starters, most coaches would love to have that situation. Still, some of the Tigers’ defensive numbers from last year aren’t that impressive. They yielded 26 points a contest and were 70th in the nation in total defense. The Tigers’ leading tackler, Jordan Dangerfield, is a safety. Although that might be related to the type of defense Towson employs, not many safeties lead their respective teams in tackles nor would teams want their defensive backs to lead in tackles. 

The Bottom Line:
There’s a reason CAA coaches picked Towson to win the conference – there’s a ton of talent and experience returning. Plus, Ambrose has added a few transfers (most noticeably cornerback Jordan Love from the University of Georgia) to add to the depth, although Love will certainly contend for a starting spot. The schedule, however, is extremely difficult. If the Tigers go on to win the CAA, they will have earned it. A key season-opening contest at Kent State could set the tone for the entire season. Following that contest, Towson plays William & Mary and St. Francis (PA) at home before heading to LSU on Sept. 29. So if the Tigers falter in the opener, they figure to be 2-2 at best going into October. Then they face JMU (on the road), Maine and Old Dominion on consecutive weekends. Plus, they still have away dates with Delaware (a budding rivalry) and New Hampshire. So the contest at Kent State looms huge.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 229.92 (11th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 201.08 (61st, 6th)
Total Offense: 431.00 (16, 2)
Scoring Offense: 34.83 (12, 2)
Rushing Defense: 142.42 (40th, 2)
Pass Defense: 227.17 (94th, 8th)
Total Defense: 369.58 (70th, 8th)
Scoring Defense: 26.00 (56th, 5)
Turnover Margin: -.67 (26, 3)
Sacks: 1.75 (81, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (59, 7)

Madness 2012 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#37 Bryton Barr
#149 Robert Chesson
#179 Brady Stup