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Tigers Down Flames As Liberty And Towson Renew Old Rivalry
Saturday evening marked the renewal of an old rivalry between the Tigers and the Flames and for the first time in the last seven meetings, Towson was able to walk away with a victory as the Tigers used a balanced offensive attack en route to a 38-17 win over Liberty at Williams Stadium.
The contest marked the tenth time the two teams have met on the gridiron, but the first since the 1992 season when the Flames picked up their sixth-straight win over the Tigers in a 16-14 victory in Towson, Md.
Liberty (1-6) got on the scoreboard first in the contest as the Flames took the opening drive and capitalized on two Tiger penalties, including an offside call on a missed 32-yard field goal attempt by Zacry Kolegue, giving the sophomore another attempt five yards closer and the placekicker made good on the opportunity as his 27-yarder, giving Liberty a 3-0 edge with 12:46 left in the first quarter.
Towson (5-2) quickly answered back on the ensuing drive as Nick Williams found an opening on the left side of the line and rushed 45 yards, giving the Tigers the ball in prime field position where Kerry Miles was able to cap off an eight-play, 80 yard drive with a one yard dive play over the goal line at the 9:32 mark to take a 7-3 lead.
The two teams committed a few mistakes over the next several plays, resulting in turnovers as Patrick Calvary picked off a Sean Schaefer at the Liberty four-yard line to halt a Tiger scoring drive, while George Mitchell forced Brock Farrel to fumble the ball to give Towson the ball on the Liberty nine-yard line. And two plays later, Towson took advantage of the miscue as Schaefer completed an 11-yard play action pass to Demetrius Harrison to give the Tigers a 14-3 lead at the 12:25 mark of the second quarter.
On the following drive, the Flames committed another turnover as Zach Terrell took the snap from center and fumbled the ball, while Carlos Allen was able to recover the mistake and give the Tigers the ball on the Liberty 26-yard line.
Four plays later, Miles took a hand off from Schaefer and found an opening up the middle for an eight-yard touchdown run, pushing the lead to 21-3 with 9:11 left before halftime.
Liberty trimmed the lead to 11 points on the following drive as the Flames used four rushing plays by Terrell to set up a deep 47-yard touchdown pass from Farrel to Wynton Jackson, marking the longest touchdown reception of the sophomore's career, to cut the lead to 21-10 at the 5:47 mark.
However, the Tigers were able to tack on three more points as they methodically marched down the field on the longest drive of the evening as Towson capped off a 15-play, 58 yard drive with a 39-yard field goal by Ron Halbruner with 13 seconds before the intermission, giving Towson a 24-10 lead at the break.
The Tigers extended their advantage on the opening drive of the second half as Schaefer dropped back to pass on the 12th play of the drive and found no one available, but found an opening in the line and rushed 11 yards for the touchdown, extending Towson's lead to 31-10 with 8:12 left in the third quarter.
The score remained the same until the first play of the fourth quarter as Williams capped off a 12-play, 84 yard drive with a one-yard run up the middle to give the Tigers a comfortable 38-10 lead.
Liberty was able to slightly cut into the advantage on its next drive as Marcus Hamilton took a hand off from Farrel and found an opening on the left side of the field for a seven-yard touchdown run at the 12:37 mark, but that was all the Flames would muster in the final quarter.
On the evening, Towson finished with 465 yards of total offense, while holding the Flames to just 282 yards, while the Tigers dominated the top of possession as Towson's controlling offense finished with a 38:50 – 21:10 TOP edge.
Williams paced the Tigers' ground game that rushed for 227 yards and two touchdowns as he finished with 72 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown, while Miles added 43 yards and two touchdowns. Terrell led the Flames with 91 yards on 19 carries.
Schaefer passed for 230 yards and a score as he completed 21-of-32 passing attempts, while hooking up with nine different receivers, including Andrae Brown for a team-best five receptions for 82 yards.
Farrel finished the night 13-of-25 for 185 yards and a score, while Terrell and Brandon Turner each caught five passes for 63 and 49 yards, respectively.
Defensively, Brandon Duke, Shane Lancaster and Manny Rojas each recorded 13 tackles, with all three players finishing with nine solo stops. This marked the third-consecutive week that Rojas has finished with 13 tackles in a game and the fifth time in his career with 13 stops. John Webb paced the way for the Tigers with 12 tackles, while Joe Ryan added eight stops, 1.5 tackles for a loss and a fumble recovery.
The Flames will conclude a four-game homestand next Saturday when they host defending Big South Conference champion Coastal Carolina at Williams Stadium in the final home contest of the year. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the 18-member football senior class will be honored prior to the start of the contest as they will be playing in the final home game of their careers.