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Ricmond overrun by West, Towson

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RICHMOND, Va. -- On a day when he became Towson's all-time rushing leader, Terrance West was appropriately dominant, running over, around, and through the Richmond defense on Saturday at Robins Stadium.

Carrying the ball wide and between the tackles, West rushed 29 times for a career-high 272 yards and scored five touchdowns, propelling Towson to its ninth straight win on the road, 48-32, before 8,700.

West, a junior, set the tone early, sprinting 79 yards on Towson's second snap, setting up his six-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Peter Athens to give the Tigers the lead for good.

Needing 131 yards to match the previous mark of Jason Corte (1996-99), West surpassed it in the second quarter as Towson improved to 8-1 overall and 4-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association, keeping pace with league-leading Maine (7-1, 4-0), a 37-35 winner over Villanova.

"There's more to come," West said. "The main goal is a national championship. We got plenty more games to go."

With its fourth straight loss, Richmond (2-6, 0-4) dropped into a last-place tie with idle Albany (1-7, 0-4), a year after second-year coach Danny Rocco's promising debut season (8-3).

"This will sound extremely weak, but a lot of the plays schematically were defended well," Rocco said. "We had people in the right positions and (West) would change the direction of the play, improvise, or break a one-on-one tackle."

The Spiders moved the ball consistently behind juniors Michael Strauss, who completed 28-of-38 passes for 281 yards and a touchdown, and Stephen Barnette, who had 11 receptions for 148 yards.

Richmond piled up 30 first downs to 22 for the Tigers, but before he was replaced in the fourth quarter, Strauss committed three costly turnovers.

Towson sophomore safety Christian Carpenter ran 34 yards for a touchdown with an interception late in the first half.

Sophomore safety Donnell Lewis stopped a Richmond drive with an end zone interception in the third quarter.

Towson senior linebacker Telvion Clark applied the clincher with 12:19 left in the game when he stripped the ball cleanly from Strauss on a blitz and ran 32 yards for score which put Towson ahead, 41-18.

"Honestly, I was just looking for a sack," said Clark, a Virginia Tech transfer who wrecked the Richmond offense with 16 tackles and had another fumble recovery. "Before I know it, the ball's in my hands."

Richmond stayed close in the first half, answering West's first two touchdowns with scoring drives of their own.

A 10-yard scoring pass from Strauss to Shane Savage on third-and-7 capped a 79-yard march.

A six-yard touchdown run off tackle by David Broadus finished off a 75-yard drive and made it 13-12, but the Spiders failed for the second straight time to convert the extra point.

But in a span of 35 seconds late in the first half, Towson scored twice, on West's one-yard plunge and Carpenter's interception return, which produced the first touchdown of his career.

After that, Richmond was left to play catch-up, a tough task against a team that can control the ball as effectively as Towson.

"The run game with a veteran offensive line is usually gonna be pretty good," Towson coach Rob Ambrose said.

Athens used play-action effectively, completing 16-of-21 passes for 228 yards, and freshman Darius Victor rushed nine times for 66 yards, contributing to a balanced attack which produced 569 yards. The day, however, belonged to West, who broke tackles for long gains and repeatedly surged for extra yards after contact.

"We couldn't tackle him," Richmond defensive end B.J. Scott said. "We thought we had the right game plan. We did. We had the good defense to stop him, but we weren't wrapping up the right way. He ran through our arm tackles."

NOTES: Richmond missed three straight extra-point attempts in the first half, drawing frustrated boos from fans. Spiders' K Brandon Jordi had kicks blocked by Towson's Tye Smith and Arnold Farmer. A third attempt sailed wide. Towson failed to convert one when holder Connor Frazier couldn't handle an off-target snap from center. ... The four losses match the longest losing streak in Danny Rocco's eight seasons as a head coach. He lost four straight in his rookie season at Liberty in 2006. ... Terrance West's 79-yrd run was his longest play from scrimmage in his career. West was particularly effective running to his left behind seniors T Eric Pike (tackle) and G Anthony Davis, a Richmond native playing in his hometown.
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