Preview: #7 William & Mary vs. Towson

wm vs towson

Following last week’s victory over Elon, the Tribe returns to Zable Stadium for a huge in-conference matchup. W&M will take on the Towson Tigers as the team tries to keep pace with Richmond, who currently sport the same record as the Green and Gold. If William & Mary and Richmond both win this week, it will set up yet another season finale, this time for the CAA championship.

Last Meeting with the Tribe: Last season, running back Mikal Adbul-Saboor carried the Tribe offense to an emphatic 37-14 win over Towson. Abdul-Saboor would finish with 141 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground, as the Tribe got out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter alone. The passing game, despite playing second fiddle to the run, was also clicking, as wide receiver Tre McBride caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from current quarterback Steve Cluley in the first quarter.

Defensively, William and Mary recovered three Tigers fumbles. All three turnovers led to Tribe scores: two field goals and a touchdown. Former kicker John Carpenter hit three field goals in the second half to extend William and Mary’s lead. At the end of the day, W&M jumped out to an early lead, limited Towson’s strong run game, and ran away with the victory.

Towson this Year: The Tigers are much improved this season, currently sitting at 6-3 overall and tied for 2nd in the CAA. The Tigers have climbed to 26th in the FCS coaches poll, and are riding a four-game winning streak. Interestingly, Towson has averaged only 19.5 points per game in those wins; however, their defense has limited the opponent to just 10.5 points per game.

Towson running back Darius Victor is one of the best in the CAA. [photo: pressboxonline.com]
Towson running back Darius Victor is one of the best in the CAA. [photo: pressboxonline.com]
One notable victory was their 19-0 drubbing of University of Delaware, making the Tribe loss to Delaware even more tantalizing. Another solid win came in a 28-21 victory over Villanova. They have also beaten Stony Brook 21-14. All of this is to say that William & Mary should not overlook this year’s Towson Tigers.

Towson’s Players to Watch: Quarterback #4 Connor Frazier has had a solid season; he is averaging a 60.8% completion rate and has 7 passing touchdowns. However, has has also thrown 7 interceptions. Even still, Frazier ranks 4th in the CAA in passing yards per game, averaging183.6 yards per game–behind Steve Cluley‘s 217.9 yards per game.

Running back #7 Darius Victor has carried the offense on the ground as the lead back; he is known for his combination of speed and size. So far this year, he is averaging 81 yards per game on the ground, and has accumulated 10 touchdowns. Bot don’t forget about Frazier, the quarterback–he can run too. Frazier averages just about 40 yards on the ground per game.

Defensively, safety #32 Romell Haley and linebacker #38 Chris Tedder have been stalwarts for the team; both recorded interceptions, combining for a staggering 120 return yards on the two picks, when the Tigers defeated Villanova earlier in the year. Cornerback #15 Donnell Lewis and linebacker #58 Eric Handy lead the team in total tackles, and 58 and 49 respectively. This is a very underrated defense that, in the CAA, ranks in the top five in several categories: scoring defense (4), rushing defense (3), pass defense (3), and total defense (3).

Kendell Anderson will look to continue his success on the ground vs. Towson. [photo: tribeathletics.com]
Kendell Anderson will look to continue his success on the ground vs. Towson. [photo: tribeathletics.com]
Tribe Keys to Victory:

  • Get Out to an Early Lead: This worked to perfection last year. Towson has a strong run game. They have a very strong running back, and let’s not forget their QB can run too. Jumping out to an early lead will eventually force Towson to throw the ball and go away from their bread and butter run game.
  • Run a Balanced Offense: The offensive will need to provide strong run blocking so that Kendell Anderson and Mikal Abdul-Saboor to find running lanes. If both can average around 4-5 yards a carry, William and Mary should be able to eat up yardage and set up the pass well.
  • Stop the Run: If the Towson offense start moving the ball on the ground, the Tribe will be limited in their time of possession, and the defense may fatigue. This could lead to Towson scoring early and often, so the Tribe needs to stuff running plays. If the Tribe doesn’t get out to an early lead, stopping the run will be huge.

Viewing: The game won’t be televised, but can be seen on TribeAthletics.tv at 1:30 PM

Prediction: William and Mary 27, Towson 14
We predict that the Tribe will keep the good times going, and be able to get the ball in the end zone against this Towson defense. Towson may have some success running the ball, but will be unable to move the ball enough to score.

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