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Towson flexes muscles, goes to 4-0

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DURHAM, N.C. -- Terrance West of Towson flexed his biceps on North Carolina Central, simply another opponent in the junior running back's way.

West rushed for two touchdowns and eventually helped wear out N.C. Central as the Tigers posted a 35-17 victory on Saturday at O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium.

Towson (4-0), which is ranked fourth in the Football Championship Subdivision, has won eight consecutive games dating to last season. That's the program's longest winning streak in 34 years.

"You can't beat a 4-0 start," quarterback Peter Athens said.

West carried defenders to a first-down pick-up midway through the fourth quarter, popped up from the turf and briefly flexed toward the N.C. Central sideline. He had put his imprint on the game, gaining 139 yards on 31 carries.

"That's just playing ball, showing emotion," said West, whose career rushing total rose to 2,838 yards. "The good thing about it is we got the win. It gets no better than 4-0."

Freshman Victor Darius also ran for two touchdowns, the latter coming from 10 yards with 1:35 remaining.

Rain fell periodically during the second half, including a late-game downpour.

West helped pour it on by rushing for 102 second-half yards.

"He's a workhorse," Athens said. "The coaches trust him. I think at the end it really took a toll on their defense."

Towson's defense recorded six sacks, negating senior quarterback Jordan Reid's career-high 292 passing yards for the Eagles.

The Tigers overcame sluggish moments, with coach Rob Ambrose pointing to glitches in all phases. However, he liked the response.

"We're going home 4-0," Ambrose said. "We made more mistakes in all three phases than we made in the first three games. It's not about the mistakes, it's how you respond to the mistakes.

" ... There's a determination with our team. It's a mentality."

West's 22-yard touchdown run in the first two minutes of the second half helped create momentum as the Tigers pulled away from a 14-10 halftime lead.

Victor scored on a four-yard run later in the third quarter for his first career touchdown.

The Tigers, who were in their final non-conference game before embarking on Colonial Athletic Association play, held on despite committing two fourth-quarter turnovers.

N.C. Central's Michael Jones snatched his fourth interception of the season with 6:37 to play.

"We got the ball back a couple of times; we have to capitalize on those," N.C. Central interim coach Dwayne Foster said.

Before Towson's giveaways, Reid hooked up with Marvin Poole for a 40-yard touchdown play on the first snap of the fourth quarter as the Eagles made it 28-17.

"It was good effort; we have to do a lot better executing," Foster said. "Our guys fought back."

Towson went ahead, 14-7, with 47 seconds left in the first half on West's one-yard scoring run, which was set up by Andre Dessenberg's acrobatic 44-yard catch.

N.C. Central (2-2) scrambled into position for Oleg Parent's 33-yard field goal to close within 14-10 at the half.

Towson, which was scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season, struck first when James Oboh leaped into the end zone to complete a nine-yard pass play from Athens with 6:39 left in the first half. It concluded a 13-play, 79-yard drive.

Moments earlier, Towson dodged an N.C. Central threat when defensive end Ryan Delaire sacked Reid, and Parent was wide right on a 38-yard field goal attempt.

The Eagles got another chance with 4:29 left in the half when an N.C. Central punt hit Towson's Ryan Mays, who was blocking, and the Eagles recovered at Towson's 23-yard-line.

Two plays later, Reid hit Poole open in the end zone.

Three of Towson's victories have come on the road.

NOTES: This was the first meeting between the schools in football. ... Towson was the highest-ranked Football Championship Subdivision team to ever visit O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium. The Tigers were the second ranked team to play in the stadium. The other was Bethune-Cookman in 2010. ... Towson improved to 35-14 all-time against members of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, including victories on consecutive weeks after blasting Delaware State 49-7 a week earlier. ... Peter Athens absorbed his first sack of the season in the first quarter. He was sacked three times total. ... Both teams start conference play next, with Towson going to Stony Brook next week and N.C. Central, after a week off, visiting Howard on Oct. 1115.

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