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Towson rolls past Holy Cross

The SportsXchange

WORCESTER, Mass. -- There was no letdown for Towson on Saturday.

None at all.

The Tigers, coming off the program's first victory over an FBS opponent in the opening game at Connecticut on Aug. 29 and ranked fifth in the FCS poll, cruised through Holy Cross, 49-7, in a game between two former conference opponents.

"A lesser mature team, a lesser mature family, would have not come out and played to their ability," Towson coach Rob Ambrose said after the program's biggest road win since 1994.

"I'm not saying we played a perfect game; we got the best Holy Cross could give us and they've got some really, really talented football players and a very talented coach.

"But it wasn't about Holy Cross, it was about us doing things our way and playing for four quarters and we did that today."

Junior strong safety Thomas Bradley's 90-yard interception return, on his first career pick late in the first half, turned a Holy Cross scoring chance into the touchdown that gave the Tigers a 28-7 halftime lead.

The Tigers put up 42 unanswered points, scoring on long drives the first three times they had the ball in the second half.

Towson, of the CAA (and once of the Patriot League) won its sixth straight game dating to last season, while Patriot League member Holy Cross fell to 0-2.

Running back Terrance West, who ran for 261 yards and two touchdowns in the upset of UConn, ripped off a 44-yard run early and finished with 121 yards and two touchdowns.

"When you have a veteran offensive line and a very good tailback, and this is what's often left out, we have good tailbacks behind him," Ambrose said.

"So defenses are afraid to change things (for West), and when you've got a good line and a backup (Sterlin Phifer) back, that's a scary, scary combination for any defense.

"Terrance is really an exceptional back, but he keeps getting better."

West, asked about moving on from UConn, said that was done, "As soon as the clock said zero-zero at the end of the UConn game. You have to look to turn the page and keep going. If you (don't), you lose focus on the future."

West shrugged off the 382 yards and four touchdowns in two games.

"I'm just trying to win, man, I'm trying to get a national championship," he said, adding, "Stats don't mean a thing."

Quarterback Peter Athens completed 17-for-23 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Tigers amass 525 yards of total offense.

"I think we just have a very mature team and a very old team," Athens said. "We know what it takes to win and we're going to prepare like that every day."

Ryan Laughlin, Holy Cross' backup quarterback playing in place of Steven Elder, who had 309 yards passing last week but was out because of a foot injury, completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Mike Fess to tie the score, 7-7, in the first quarter.

The key turning point of the game, if there is one in a 49-7 final, was Bradley's interception return for a touchdown.

"That interception just turned everything around," Holy Cross coach Tom Gilmore said.

Laughlin finished 14-for-30, with several drops, for 149 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Fess caught six passes for 81 yards, but also had a few drops.

"He did some really good things and he made some mistakes, like the rest of the team did," Gilmore said. "I thought he did some really good things. I really think he's going to improve as we go along."

NOTES: Towson has won five consecutive road games. ... Steven Elder actually injured his left foot in the first quarter of last week's 17-16 loss at Bryant but played the rest of that game. He was originally said to have broken the foot but coach Tom Gilmore called it a sprain after Saturday's game and hopes Elder is back soon. ... Terrance West was the CAA offensive player of the week for Week 1. ... While Holy Cross is at Central Connecticut next week, Towson plays its home opener against Delaware State. In honor of the 33-18 final score at UConn, a family of four can attend next week's game at a cost of, you guessed it, $33.18. ... Kyle Toulouse, who returned a punt 77 yards for a Holy Cross touchdown last week, broke a bone in his hand in that game and was out. Wide receiver/returner Kalif Raymond, an All-Patriot League selection last season who missed the opener because of an ankle injury, was scheduled to return but did not. ... Towson's winning streak is the program's longest since a six-game string in 1994 and the five-game streak coming in was tied for the second-longest active run in FCS. The Tigers finished 2012 with a four-game winning streak and won the Colonial title, but didn't earn a playoff berth.
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