#13 Towson FCS Football 2014 Preview

Towson Tigers

Overall Rank: #13
#3 CAA

Towson Team Page#13 Towson FCS Football 2014 PreviewBuy Towson Football Tickets

Towson spent all of last season ranked in the top 15 and reached as high as #2 during the season. They also ended up as the second best team in the FCS. The Tigers earned a first round bye in the playoffs and beat Fordham, Eastern Illinois and Eastern Washington en route to a berth in the national championship game. Of course, North Dakota State was too much for Towson, but it was a great year for the Tigers and Coach Bob Ambrose and now it is time to keep rolling with that momentum.

2013 Record: 13-3, 6-2
2013 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Bob Ambrose (32-29 at Towson, 32-29 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Jared Ambrose
Defensive Coordinator: Matt Hachmann

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Darius Victor, RB, 643 yards
Passing: Connor Frazier, QB, 141 yards
Receiving: Spencer Wilkins, WR, 691 yards
Tackles: Tye Smith, CB, 103
Sacks: Ryan Delaire, DE, 11.5
Interceptions: Christian Carpenter, S, 4; Donnell Lewis, CB, 4

Other Key Returnees: WR Brian Dowling, WR Derrick Joseph, DL Jon Desire, DE Drew Cheripko

Key Losses: RB Terrance West, QB Peter Athens, WR Leon Kinnard, TE James Oboh, OL Randall Harris, OL Eric Pike, LB Telvion Clark, LB Monte Gaddis, DB Jordan Love, DL Arnold Farmer

With just four starters returning to the offense, the strength of Towson’s team may shift to the defense. Seven starters return on that side of the ball, including defensive linemen Ryan Delaire, Drew Cheripko and Jon Desire. Delaire is the best pass rusher of the bunch, tallying 11.5 sacks in 2013, but while the opposing line is worrying about Delaire, Cheripko can take advantage. This team ranked 22nd in the FCS in sacks a season ago and they could be even better now. Having that consistent pass rush will help the rest of the defense. And the rest of the defense could use some help, especially at linebacker where Telvion Clark and Monte Gaddis, the team’s top two tacklers, need to be replaced. Bryton Barr missed most of last season, yet he will be counted on to turn into the big playmaker at outside linebacker. The secondary has been inconsistent. However, three starters are back, led by corner Tye Smith, which should help the unit allow fewer big plays.

How do you replace Terrance West? The short answer is you don’t. As a junior, the running back rushed for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns. That is not a typo. He ran for 41 touchdowns in a single season. Figuring that there was nothing left for him to do at Towson, West left early for the NFL, where he was drafted in the third round by Cleveland. Darius Victor is next in the line. The 5-8, 210 pound sophomore rushed for 629 yards and seven scores in 2013. He is not going to be West, but he should be a 1,000 yard rusher on this team. Coach Ambrose also must replace quarterback Peter Athens. As often as Athens’ job was handing the ball off to West, he did throw for 3,461 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2013. Connor Frazier was the backup last season and threw just 14 passes in that role. However, Frazier was involved as a receiver and a runner. Former Wisconsin quarterback Joe Brennan, who has sat on Towson’s bench the last two years, is also in the mix. Towson still wants to rely on the ground game, so whoever can keep the turnovers down should at least be a serviceable quarterback.

The Bottom Line:
The big question here is just how far is the rushing offense going to drop without West. With an improved defense, this is a team that will be able to grind out wins as long as Victor can emerge as a consistent running threat. Outside of a trip to Morgantown to take on West Virginia, the non-conference slate should provide Towson with an opportunity to sort everything out. Even the always tough CAA could be worse for the Tigers. They avoid New Hampshire and Richmond.

Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 466.4 (12th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 226.4 (49, 6)
Total Offense: 466.4 (12, 1)
Scoring Offense: 36.6 (19, 1)
Rushing Defense: 240.0 (11, 2)
Pass Defense: 240.3 (92, 7)
Total Defense: 367.1 (43, 6)
Scoring Defense: 23.9 (42, 7)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (60, 5)
Sacks: 2.56 (22, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 0.94 (13, 1)

Madness 2014 FCS Football Recruit Rankings:
#146 Reece Burnett


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