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Towson makes bid for FCS playoff berth, 64-35

The SportsXchange

DURHAM, N.H. -- Terrance West received a big hug from Towson coach Rob Ambrose midway through the fourth quarter after the sophomore running back barreled his way into the end zone from five yards out for his second touchdown of the day.

He found a seat along the sidelines and smiled. Even with 10 minutes to play, his day was over.

The 5-foot-11, 220-pound running back carried 19 times for 236 yards as No. 19 Towson scorched No. 7 New Hampshire 64-35 Saturday in front of 5,531 fans to close the regular season.

The victory strengthened the Tigers' resume heading into the Football Conference Subdivision's version of selection Sunday.

New Hampshire already had clinched a share of the Colonial Athletic Association title, but needed to beat Towson for the outright championship.

"How much more do you want us to pile on?" Ambrose asked after the game. "If we didn't play two (Division) IA teams, this isn't a conversation. We're already there."

Towson created huge holes at the line of scrimmage and West gashed the defense at the second level.

West's play helped the Tigers score on seven of its first eight possessions. Its only drive that didn't end in points during that span ended with a blocked field goal at the end of the first half.

D.J. Soven's 43-yard field goal attempt with time winding down in the half was blocked by New Hampshire's Jared Smith, and Steven Thames took the ball 65 yards for a touchdown that cut Towson's lead to 30-28 at halftime.

"That's exactly what we didn't want," Ambrose said. "We would have been happy with zero points. We just didn't want to give them momentum."

But the Tigers quickly regained the momentum in the second half with 27 unanswered points, turning a 30-28 lead into a 57-28 rout.

It started on its first drive, which spanned 86 yards, capped by Grant Enders' three-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Holder. Enders followed that up with an eight-yard touchdown run that capped an 11- play, 77 yard drive nine minutes later.

"The first drive of the second half was huge," coach Sean McDonnell of New Hampshire said. "And then we never got in a rhythm offensively after that."

West scored from five yards on the following Towson drive and Brian Boateng returned a fumble 26 yards for another touchdown following a fumble on the next New Hampshire play from scrimmage to complete Towson's surge.

Towson outscored New Hampshire, 34-7, in the second half.

"Coming out in the third, knowing it could be the last game for us seniors, everyone was even more amped than usual," Towson wide receiver Tom Ryan said after making five catches for 60 yards.

The Wildcats kept it interesting early.

Andy Vailas ran 77 yards for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, but New Hampshire's two-point conversion attempt failed.

The Wildcats rotated Vailas and Sean Goldrich at quarterback, and neither found much success through the air.

Goldrich completed 9-of-17 passes for 108 yards and Vailas finished was 3-of-9 for 33 yards. Vailas rushed for 110 yards on eight carries and had three total touchdowns.

"We kept shooting ourselves in the foot and couldn't get anything going," New Hampshire lineman Chris Zarkoskie said. "You can't do that against a good football team. That showed in the second half."

NOTES: Towson snapped New Hampshire's streak of 10 consecutive home victories, spoiling the Wildcats' Senior Day. ... Coach Sean McDonnell's record fell to 8-6 in games at New Hampshire following a regular season bye week. ... It was the first time New Hampshire surrendered more than 60 points at home since the Massachusetts accomplished the feat on Nov. 19, 1988. ... Terrance West rushed for 260 yards against New Hampshire last season.
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