TOWSON LOOKS TO 3-0

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TOWSON FOOTBALL CHALLENGES FBS POWER WEST VIRGINIA

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    The Game: Towson (2-0, 0-0 CAA) @ West Virginia (0-2, 0-1 Big 12)
    When: Sat., Sept. 17, 1 p.m.
    Where: Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium – Morgantown, W.Va.
    Online Broadcast: ESPN+/Big 12 Now ($)
    ----Broadcasters: Noah Read (PxP), Adam Breneman (analyst)
    Radio/Online Broadcast: Towsontigers.com
    ----Broadcasters: Spiro Morekas (PxP), Gordy Combs (Analyst)
    Series: West Virginia leads 1-0

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Towson University football team is ready for its game against FBS West Virginia, heading to Morgantown for a 1 p.m. game on Saturday, Sept. 17.

    The game will be broadcast online on ESPN+/Big 12 Now, available via subscription, with Noah Read and Adam Breneman on the call. In addition, Spiro Morekas and Gordy Combs will have the radio call on Towsontigers.com.

    Those looking for tickets can get them at wvusports.com.

    The Tigers, from the Colonial Athletic Association, have won their first two games to start 2-0 for the second time in three seasons, coming off a 29-21 victory over Morgan State. West Virginia fell is its Big 12 home opener vs. Kansas 55-42 in overtime on Saturday to stand at 0-2 overall and 0-1 in its league.

    Following last week's victory, Towson is receiving votes in the AFCA Coaches Poll.

    Towson and West Virginia have met just once before, a 54-0 victory for the Mountaineers on Sept. 6, 2014. All-time since 2008, Towson is 1-13 against FBS opponents, including a 33-18 victory over UConn on Aug. 29, 2013.

    This is the final non-conference game for Towson before the beginning of CAA play next week against New Hampshire.

    TOWSON RETURNS FOR 2022 SEASON
    It is a new year for Towson as the Tigers are set for their 53rd season. Rob Ambrose returns at the helm of his 13th season.

    It is a new look Towson team with over 50 new players joining since the spring season began. Four starters return on each side of the ball for Towson in 2021:

    Offense:
    --Darian Street, WR
    --Jabari Allen, WR
    --Luke Hamilton, FB
    --Cole Cheripko, OL
    Defense:
    --Vinnie Shaffer, DL
    --Ryan Kearney, LB
    --Robert Topps III, S
    --Charles Peeples, CB

    GIBBS NAMED TO REESE'S SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST
    Towson defensive lineman Jesus Gibbs has been selected to the 10th Annual Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List. The Senior Bowl, set for Feb. 4, 2023, will gather some of the top prospects for the upcoming National Football League (NFL) Draft. Gibbs will look to be the first Towson player to compete in the Reese's Senior Bowl since Tony Vinson played in the game in 1994.

    Gibbs, a South Carolina transfer, enters his third year playing for the Tigers in 2022. The standout defensive lineman had three games with at least four tackles each before ending the year due to injury, including three total tackles for loss. He was recently featured on Bruce Feldman's 2022 College Football "Freaks" List as one of the top college football players with unique physical abilities.

    HAMILTON, HUNTER RECOGNIZED ON CAA PRESEASON AWARDS
    Two Tigers were recognized on the CAA preseason awards: Luke Hamilton earned 2022 CAA Football Preseason All-Conference Team while D'Ago Hunter was an honorable mention at kick/punt returner.

    Hamilton was the 2021 Second Team All-CAA fullback and picks up his first-ever preseason all-league selection. The senior was one of the top blocking fullbacks in the league last season in seven games played, also making receptions in five contests.

    Hunter is recognized in the preseason by the CAA for the first time. The 2021 All-CAA Third Team punt returner, the redshirt senior was Towson's all-purpose yards leader last season with 1,104, including 753 on kickoff returns and 121 on punt returns.

    BATTLE FOR GREATER BALTIMORE SERIES EXTENDED THROUGH 2027
    In July 2021, Towson and Morgan State announced an extension of the Battle for Greater Baltimore series through the 2027 season. The two teams will alternate hosting rights each year. The teams are separated by five miles, the closest pair of teams in all of FCS play.

    Towson hosted Morgan State on Sept. 10, the first game between the two at Unitas since 2017, defeating the Bears 29-21. Towson leads the all-time series 21-6.

    21 GRADUATES SUITING UP FOR TOWSON
    Several Tigers are playing as college graduates. Towson has 21 total graduate players, tied for third-most across FCS.
    Towson graduates (10) -
    Jabari Allen Charles Peeples
    Cole Cheripko Robert Schwob
    Alex Desire Vinnie Shaffer
    Jamal Gay Darian Street
    Ryan Kearney Robert Topps III

    Graduates of other schools (11) -
    Juwan Burgess (Indiana) Tyrrell Pigrome (WKU)
    Mason Cholewa (UCF) Tramar Reece (Indiana)
    Damir Faison (Kent St.) Josh Roberts (Lafayette)
    Shaheem Haltiwanger (SCSU) Julian Singh (LIU)
    Da'Kendall James (Norfolk St.) Makye Smith (Stony Brook)
    Tyler Johnston III (UAB)

    TOWSON PICKED 11TH IN CAA PRESEASON POLL
    The Tigers were predicted to finish 11th in the league in the preseason coaches poll. Towson received 81 points in the poll.

    2021 CAA co-champion Villanova was predicted to finish first with 16 first-place votes and 270 points while Delaware is second with seven first-place votes and 235 points.

    2022 CAA Football Predicted Order of Finish
    1. Villanova (16 first-place votes), 270 points
    2. Delaware (7), 235
    3. Rhode Island, 224
    4. Richmond, 219
    5. William & Mary (2), 206
    6. Elon (1), 191
    7. Stony Brook, 151
    8. Maine, 134
    9. New Hampshire, 117
    10. Monmouth, 105
    11. Towson, 81
    12. UAlbany, 64
    13. Hampton, 31

    TIGERS IN THE PROS
    Former Towson players are making their mark in the professional ranks. Tye Smith was in preseason camp with the Minnesota Vikings, seeking to play in his sixth season in the NFL and second with the Vikings. In all, he has played in 45 regular season games, competing at cornerback and special teams.

    In 2022, Darius Victor was the Offensive Player of the Year in the reformed USFL, earning 577 rushing yards and nine touchdowns for the North Division regular season champion New Jersey Generals.

    Towson has also made its mark in the Canadian Football League. Three former Towson players currently compete for the Edmonton Elks: Malik Tyne, Tibo Debaillie and Andrew Garnett.

    Tigers in the Pros – 2022
    --Tye Smith (CB): Minnesota Vikings, NFL (released 8/29)
    --Darius Victor (RB): New Jersey Generals, USFL
    --Diondre Wallace (LB): New Orleans Breakers, USFL (draftee)
    --Malik Tyne (LB): Edmonton Elks, CFL
    --Tibo Debaillie (DL): Edmonton Elks, CFL
    --Andrew Garnett (OL): Edmonton Elks, CFL
    --Shane Simpson (RB): Winnipeg Blue Bombers (signee)

    PERKINS EARNS CAA ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
    With a six-catch, 81-yard receiving performance against Bucknell, Isaiah Perkins was honored as the CAA Rookie of the Week. He is the first Towson player to earn this honor since November 2017.

    LAST GAME (TOWSON 29, MORGAN STATE 21)
    (9/10/2022 - TOWSON, MD.):
    The Battle for Greater Baltimore trophy is staying in Towson as the Tigers defeated Morgan State 29-21 in front of 9,784 fans at Johnny Unitas® Stadium.
    Important Stat:
    Towson - 35:37 time of possession (Morgan St. - 24:23)
    Morgan St. - Three TD drives of 65 yards or better
    Top Passer:
    Towson - Tyrrell Pigrome: 14-25, 157 yards, 3 TD
    Morgan St. - Carson Baker: 10-24, 152 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
    Top Rusher:
    Towson - Tyrrell Pigrome: 19 rush, 124 yards
    Morgan St. - Alfonzo Graham: 17 rush, 89 yards, 1 TD
    Top Receiver:
    Towson - Darian Street: 2 catches, 48 yards, 2 TD
    Morgan St. - Andre Crawley: 4 catches, 63 yards
    Standout Defensive Player:
    Towson - Mason Woods (LB): 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT
    Morgan St. - Lawrence Richardson (LB): 13 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 FF

    ALLEN APPROACHING RECORDS
    Jabari Allen is approaching the top-10 of several receiving records for the program.
    Jabari Allen (R-Sr. WR)
    Receiving Yards: 1,268
    --10th: Shane Leatherbury, 1,848 (2017-19)
    Receiving Touchdowns: 13
    --9th: Many players, 14
    Receptions: 106
    --10th: Mike Deal, 138 (1996-99)

    QUARTERBACK COMPETITION.....
    With Towson's primary three quarterbacks all leaving after last season, the Tigers have been having a position battle with several competitors.

    #2 Rishon Holmes, Fr.
    Three-star recruit, Baltimore native at Milford Mill
    #14 Zack Jackson, R-Fr.
    University of Maryland transfer after 2021 redshirt season
    #17 Tyler Johnston III, Gr.
    Grad transfer from UAB, led Blazers to two league titles
    #15 Nathan Kent, R-So.
    Played in final game of 2021 (only returner to play at TU)
    #4 Tyrrell Pigrome, Gr.
    Former starting QB at Maryland and Western Kentucky
    #16 Scott Smith III, R-Fr.
    2021 top-10 QBs in DMV by NBC Sports Washington

    A DIFFERENT LOOKING DEFENSE.....
    Towson will have a different look on the defensive end, needing to replace its five leading tacklers from the 2021 campaign.

    Team captain Vinnie Shaffer leads all returners in tackles with 38 last season, as well as a team-leading four sacks on the defensive line, followed by 30 by cornerback Charles Peeples.

    .....AND A DIFFERENT LOOKING OFFENSE
    The Tigers need to replace their starting quarterback, running back and tight end plus four offensive linemen from 2021.

    Team captain Cole Cheripko at center is the lone starting lineman from last season.

    AMBROSE - 3RD LONGEST TENURED CAA COACH
    Head coach Rob Ambrose, a Towson graduate of 1993, returns at the helm of the Tigers for his 13th season in 2022 and is the third-longest tenured head coach in the CAA.

    Going into its 53rd season, Towson football has had four head coaches, with three, including Ambrose, serving at the helm for at least 10 seasons. Ambrose was formerly an assistant under Gordy Combs from 1992 to 2000.

    Ahead of Ambrose in years is Monmouth's Kevin Callahan (30th season) and Stony Brook's Chuck Priore (17th season).

    INTERNATIONAL TIGERS
    Towson's influence is growing across the world. Two Towson offensive linemen are from Germany: Roman Wahrheit and Florian Staehler. Towson has other ties to Germany: Konstantinos Kosmakos is an assistant coach for the Marburg Mercenaries, which includes Towson graduate Robert Heyward at linebacker.

    New to the team this year from overseas includes punter Riley Williams from Australia and offensive lineman Sahil Bhullar from Canada.

    In Ambrose's time, Towson has also had players from Belgium, Finland, Germany, and Norway.

    FROM UP AND DOWN THE EAST COAST...
    The Towson roster nearly covers every state along the coastline from New York to Florida, with Delaware as the lone exception. 12 states, plus the District of Columbia, are represented by the Tigers. Away from the East Coast, Towson has players from Alabama, Illinois and Oregon.

    ...AND REPPING THE HOME STATE
    The Towson roster represents the Old Line State well, sporting 48 players from the home state of Maryland. This includes six players from Baltimore City/County: Keith Bagwell (Baltimore), Anthony Delle Donne (Baltimore), Dion Crews-Harris (Baltimore), Rishon Holmes (Baltimore), Vinnie Shaffer (Middle River) and Scott Smith III (Brooklandville).

    SCOUTING WEST VIRGINIA:
    Under fourth year head coach Neal Brown, West Virginia was predicted to finish sixth in the Big 12 in the preseason coaches poll.

    The Mountaineers stand fourth in the Big 12 with 284.5 passing yards per game, with junior quarterback JT Daniels throwing 63.8% for 569 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Classmate Lee Kpogba is the leader in tackles at linebacker with 16, adding a pair of quarterback hurries.

    LAST GAME (WEST VIRGINIA 54, TOWSON 0)
    (9/7/2014, MORGANTOWN, W.VA.):
    Towson fell in its first road game of 2014 with a 54-0 defeat at West Virginia.
    Important Stat:
    Towson - Snapped Towson's 12-game road winning streak
    WVU - Had 606 yards of total offense
    Top Passer:
    Towson - Connor Frazier: 7-17, 60 yards
    WVU - Clint Trickett: 35-40, 348 yards, 2 TD
    Top Rusher:
    Towson - Darius Victor: 8 rush, 27 yards
    WVU - Rushel Shell: 14 rush, 71 yards, 1 TD
    Top Receiver:
    Towson - Andre Dessenberg: 2 catches, 30 yards
    WVU - Kevin White: 10 catches, 101 yards
    Standout Defensive Player:
    Towson - Donnell Lewis (CB): 15 tkls., 0.5 TFL
    WVU - Wes Tonkery (LB): 5 tkls., 1.5 TFL, 0.5 sack

    IMPORTANT DATES: TOWSON VS. FBS
    --Sept. 29, 2012 - LSU 38- Towson 22 (Baton Rouge, La.):
    Towson recovered three LSU fumbles and scored a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns, falling to the #3 team in the country 38-22. Towson had 188 rushing yards to LSU's 158, including Terrance West having 79 yards and two touchdowns.

    --Aug. 29, 2013 - Towson 33-UConn 18 (Storrs, Conn.):
    Towson outscored UConn 20-8 in the second half to earn a 33-18 victory for the program's first-ever win over an FBS program. Towson earned 201 rushing yards, compared to UConn's 81, including Terrance West rushing for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Telvion Clark racked up 13 tackles.

    --Sept. 5, 2015 - ECU 28, Towson 20 (Greenville, N.C.):
    Towson pulled to within one score with just under eight minutes left and pushed on a final drive to the ECU 16 but came up short in a 28-20 defeat at East Carolina. Darius Victor broke for 137 rushing yards while Connor Frazier threw for 221 yards and a touchdown.

    STAN EISENHOOTH TO ENTER TOWSON ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME
    Among the inductees into the Towson Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2022 includes former offensive lineman Stan Eisenhooth. He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Oct. 21.

    Eisenhooth started for three years on the Towson offensive line from 1983 to 1985, helping the Tigers to two appearances in the NCAA D2 Playoffs, including getting to the semifinal in 1984.

    He would go on to play in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts.

    CAA FOOTBALL SHAKEUP
    CAA Football added a pair of programs in the past academic season: Hampton and Monmouth are new CAA members this year. Though Stony Brook was already a CAA Football member, the Seawolves joined the CAA as a full member this year.

    Towson will play each new program this year: at Monmouth on Oct. 29 and vs. Hampton on Nov. 19.

    In addition, two more programs will join the conference starting in the 2023-24 athletic year: Campbell and North Carolina A&T.

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