Game Preview: William & Mary @ Towson

towson-wm-2016

The Tribe picked up a big win on the road over #25 ranked Stony Brook last week, winning by the finally tally, 14-9. The W&M defense shut out Stony Brook’s offense for the second straight season, as the Seawolves’ only points came on a blocked punt for a TD, and a safety. It was also nice to get back into the win column after a loss the week before against Maine. Moving forward, William and Mary will look to defeat Towson this coming Saturday to procure its first 2 game winning streak in the CAA. A winning season is still very much in play for the Tribe, and we are hoping that these seniors can pull out 2 more wins!

Now, we turn our attention to this week’s matchup vs. the Towson Tigers at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Last Season: William and Mary vs. Towson 

Towson Running Back Darius Victor is second in the CAA in rushing [Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox]
Towson Running Back Darius Victor was second in the CAA in rushing going into last season’s game vs. W&M. [Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox]
Last year, a 6-3 Towson squad traveled to Williamsburg for a big-time matchup with the then 7-2 Tribe. It was a momentous game for both teams, and especially for the CAA. But in the end, and luckily for Tribe fans, William and Mary defeated Towson by a score of 31-17 in Williamsburg.

This game may have been the best of QB Steve Cluley‘s career, as he finished an incredible 21-23 passing with 262 yards and 2 TDs with 0 INTS. Simply put: he was virtually unstoppable. The running duo of Kendell Anderson and Mikal Abdul-Saboor rushed for a total of 150 yards on the ground, while WR Kevin Hart added 40 yards receiving with 2 touchdowns.

The Green Swarm held Towson’s offense in check, as the Tigers could only muster a meager (how’s that for alliteration?) 3 points in the first half. The defensive unit also held Towson’s star RB Darius Victor to under 100 yards, led by W&M’s now-NFLer DeAndre Houston-Carson’s 12 tackles. Safety Mike Barta also added an interception as the Tribe D rolled.

This win proved to be a big one that earned William and Mary a claim of the 2015 CAA Championship. Had the Green and Gold beaten Richmond the week after, the Tribe would have won the CAA outright. However, we all know what happened in that one…but despite that fact, the Towson game was a big win against a solid opponent last season.

towson Towson this Year

Towson currently ranks toward the bottom of the CAA this year and sits with a lowly 2-7 (1-5 CAA) record. That obviously does not sound impressive; perhaps you’re already predicting that the Tribe will steam roll the Tigers this Saturday. If that’s the case, you should really think again. Despite its record, Towson has been very competitive in all of its games this season. The Tigers lost on the road against powerhouse Richmond by only 3 points, lost to Stony Brook (a team that clobbered Richmond) by just 7, and Dartmouth by 3. If a couple more plays went their way in each of those games, Towson could be sitting at 5-4 on the year, with two big wins over Richmond and Stony Brook.

Despite its underwhelming record, the Towson Tigers are still a dangerous team. [photo: towsontigers.com]
Despite its underwhelming record, the Towson Tigers are still a dangerous team, with freshman RB Shane Simpson (above) recently earning CAA Rookie of the Week honors. [photo: towsontigers.com]
Instead, Towson’s two wins this season came against St. Francis, and last week against Elon. Side note: Elon still has not won a game since defeating the Tribe this year. Ugh. But we digress. Towson’s offense has actually been somewhat impressive this season, currently ranking 6th in the CAA in Total Offense, and 4th in the league in Passing Offense. To put that into perspective, William and Mary is ranked 7th in the CAA in Total Offense, just behind the Tigers. In terms of Total Defense, the Tigers rank 5th, and 3rd in Pass Defense. Again, William and Mary ranks 7th in Total Defense–a couple spots behind Towson.

To recap, the Tigers rank in the top half of the CAA in both offense and defense. The problem has been that they have not been able to put together complete-game efforts that result in wins. Regardless, this is not a team that the Tribe should take lightly; they are more than capable of defeating the Tribe come Saturday, and W&M will have to be all-systems-go to pull out a road victory in this contest.

towsonTowson’s Players to Watch

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True freshman RB Deshaun Wethington is an imposing force from the running back position. [photo: towsontigers.com]
  1. RB Duo #13 Shane Simpson (Redshirt Freshman, 5’9″, 185 lbs),  and #4 Deshaun Wethington (Freshman, 5’10”, 196 lbs): Typically when your star running back goes down to injury (as Darius Victor did for Towson), the running game takes a step back. That has not been the case for Towson, who now features two stud running backs in Simpson and Wethington. Both freshmen, mind you. Both average over 5 yards per carry (Simpson-5.1, Wethington-5.8), which is very impressive for two running backs who were backups going into the year (and were playing in the high school ranks not long ago). The Tribe D will need to be on its game, as the unit currently ranks toward the bottom of the CAA in Rush Defense. Stack the box, clog the holes. Linebacker play will be key in this one.
    WR Christian Summers has wreaked absolute havoc on the CAA this season, averaging just under 90 yards per game [photo: towsontigers.com]
    WR Christian Summers has wreaked absolute havoc on the CAA this season, averaging just under 90 yards per game. [photo: towsontigers.com]
  2. #25 Christian Summers (WR, Senior, 6’3″, 217 lbs): Summers currently ranks second in the CAA in total receiving yards (786), behind only Richmond’s stud receiver Brian Brown. Summers averages 87.3 yards per game, and has also added 4 receiving TDs. Summers stands at a tall 6’3″, and poses a serious problem for William and Mary’s smaller defensive backs on Saturday. Shutting Summers down will be key, as he is undoubtedly the go-to #1 receiver on this year’s Towson team.
    OLB
    OLB Jordan Mynatt can do a little bit of everything, shown here taking down JMU’s elusive QB Bryan Schor. [photo: towsontigers.com]
  3. #41 Jordan Mynatt (OLB, Redshirt Senior, 6’2″, 209 lbs): Mynatt is what we would call a stat sheet stuffer. He ranks 4th on the team in tackles with 53, and leads the team in tackles for loss with 6.5 on the year. He also has 2 sacks on the season, a forced fumble, and an interception. Basically, Mynatt is all over the field and can quite literally do it all. He will look to stop the best functioning part of the Tribe offense on Saturday, that being Tribe RB Kendell Anderson. It’ll be a fun time watching these two go at it this weekend; naturally, we’re thinking Kendell comes out on top.

Tribe Keys to Victory

  • Run the Ball: Towson ranks 3rd in the CAA in Pass Defense, but only 7th in Rush Defense. We would not recommend challenging Towson’s corners, especially knowing how banged up William and Mary’s receivers are. Plus, when you have a running back like Kendell Anderson in the backfield, it doesn’t make much sense to do anything else but tote the beast. The added benefit of establishing a run game is keeping Towson’s offense off of the field. Boasting a sneakily good top-5 offense CAA offense, keeping the Tigers off the field is a must on Saturday.
  • Protect the Punter: In how many games this year have opponents blocked a W&M punt? In 5? 6? Whatever it the number is , it is WAY TOO HIGH. It seems like every game, one of the Tribe’s punts get blocked, often for a TD. It has happened so often that it now garners a key to victory in this week’s post. Let’s hope the Tribe can get through this game without having a punt blocked. It would do much in the way of momentum and consistency. No dumb errors on special teams. Please. Pretty please?
  • Pressure the QB: Get this, William and Mary has garnered just 3 sacks in 6 CAA games this year. To put that into perspective, the team averages just a half sack per game in CAA play. Are you kidding me? The Tribe will need to put pressure on Towson’s quarterback to win this weekend. The Tigers have two very capable WRs in Christian Summers and Andre Dessenberg, who have a combined 1396 receiving yards on the season. If the Towson QB gets time in the pocket, these receivers will be open, and that might spell doom for the Tribe on Saturday.

Viewing: When and Where

Live stream on Towson’s website at 12:00 PM. Save the link here! 

W&M Sports Blog Prediction: William and Mary 31 Towson 24

While Towson ranks in the top-6 in both offense and defense in the CAA, they rank second to last in Scoring Defense, giving up an average of 27.7 points per game. Therefore, we predict this to be a relatively high scoring affair. While William and Mary’s offense hasn’t been great, they have nothing to lose in this one. Let it rip! Roll Tribe!

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