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Slow-starting Towson finishes fast, 44-17

The SportsXchange

ALBANY, N.Y. --? Towson coach Rob Ambrose is tired of watching his team sleepwalk through the first quarter.

The Tigers, ranked seventh in the FCS, woke up against slumping University at Albany and coasted to a 44-17 rout in a Colonial Athletic Association game on Saturday.

Towson has been outscored, 62-12, in the opening quarter of its last four games, including 7-3 by the last-place Great Danes.

? "We managed to overcome it from practice because we have too much practice at doing it," Ambrose said. "But our guys seem to rally around together through adversity. I'd say we were in better position this week than we were in previous weeks, but we shot ourselves in the foot.

"Either those moments are going to change, or some people are going to change. That's going to change. In the long run, those are going to keep us away from our goal."?

The Tigers (7-1 overall, 3-1 in the CAA) rebounded from their loss to Villanova last week.

Albany (1-7, 0-4), a first-year member of the CAA, lost its sixth straight game.

Terrance West rushed for 183 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers, who earned their eighth straight road victory before a sellout crowd of 8,500 at Bob Ford Field on homecoming weekend.

? "He's the real deal," Albany linebacker Christian Dorsey said. "I told him at the end of the game, he's definitely going to be playing on Sundays. He runs hard and he has great vision."?

Towson quarterback Peter Athens completed 22-of-32 passes for 294 yards and a touchdown.

The Tigers scored three touchdowns in a span of 3 minutes, 38 seconds in the second quarter to take a 24-7 lead.

?"It just took the air right out of us," Albany coach Bob Ford said.

Athens threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Spencer Wilkins, who had six catches for 129 yards, to give Towson a 10-7 lead with 10:20 remaining in the first half.

Towson cornerback Donnell Lewis returned an interception for a 38-yard score to make it 17-7. Albany quarterback Will Fiacchi threw high for wide receiver Kevin Chillis, who had the pass deflect off his hand and into Lewis? arms.

After Towson stopped Albany on downs, West concluded the scoring binge with a 59-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers up, 24-7, with 6:42 left in the half.

West started to his left and cut back across the field on the way to his Football Championship Subdivision-leading 18th touchdown of the season.

?"Just set up by great blocking up front by my offensive line," West said. "I can't explain it. It's just there and my body takes me wherever I go."?

West said the Tigers won't get very far if they continue sputtering in the first quarter.

"Very concerned," he said. "Where we want to go, we can't keep doing that. We can't keep starting off slow like that. Teams are going to take advantage of that."?

Towson added two touchdowns in the third quarter, as West and Darius Victor each rushed for a seven-yard score and a 38-10 lead on the way to another road victory.

? "You talk about distractions,"?Ambrose said. "Whether they're at home or on the road, there are a lot of things that get in the way. Our guys do a great job of tuning it out and staying focused on our goal."?

Towson overcame four turnovers by amassing 573 yards of offense.

Albany running back Omar Osbourne, the CAA's second leading rusher behind West, finished with 50 yards on 16 carries. He sprained an ankle late in the first half and did not return.

The Great Danes led, 7-3, after the first quarter following turnovers by Towson on its first two possessions.

Athens threw a pass that was deflected and intercepted by Albany defensive lineman Cory Connell at the Towson 24.

The Great Danes converted the turnover into Jake Meek's 10-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 advantage with 3:01 left in the quarter.

Towson answered on the final play of the quarter, when Drew Evangelista kicked a career-high 50-yard field goal, aided by a strong wind.

NOTES: Terrance West went over 1,000 yards rushing for the third year in a row. ... Towson didn't punt until 13:20 remained in the game. ... Towson defensive end Ryan Delaire, who leads the team with 6.5 sacks, didn't make the trip after sustaining a leg injury in the loss to Villanova last Saturday.
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