Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Lowdown: Towson Tigers

Who: Towson Tigers (0-0) at Indiana Hoosiers (0-0)
Where: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, Indiana
When: Thursday, Sept. 2 @ 7:30p/6:30c
What: The Hoosiers are opening their fourth season under head coach Bill Lynch (14-23 overall, 3-0 in season openers), returning eight offensive starters and four more on defense. The Tigers, who hail from Maryland and the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), enter their second year under head coach Rod Ambrose (2-9 last season).  This is the first ever game between the two.

The Lowdown:
The Tigers started out last season on the road against the Northwestern Wildcats, losing 47-14 in coach Rod Ambrose's Towson debut. Prior to his head coaching job, Ambrose spent seven seasons as the offensive coordinator at Connecticut under Randy Edsall. Ambrose was on the staff in 2006 when the Huskies came to Bloomington and beat the Hoosiers 14-7, as well as in 2003 when the Huskies won 34-10 in East Hartford. However, the Huskies were 0-2 during Ambrose's tenure in games against the Bill Lynch-led Ball State Cardinals. He played wide receiver for Towson from 1990-1993 and after graduation spent the next eight seasons at the Tigers WRs coach.
Last season, Ambrose started freshman QB Peter Athens for the first 6 games of the season until Athens suffered an ACL injury. Athens is back now but the expected starter under center is junior transfer Chris Hart. The dual-threat quarterback spent last season at Georgia Military College where he passed for 1,060 yards, 22 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions, while adding 362 rushing yards and 3 rushing scores. Thursday will be his first start in a Tiger uniform. The Tigers also have Bart Blanchard, a transfer from the Citadel who has started 19 games and has passed for a total of 4,238 yds and 38 TDs over three seasons.
We should expect to see sophomore Tremayne Dameron running the ball quite a bit in this game, as he accounted for a large chunk of the Tigers offense last season. Dameron, as a true freshman, ran for 588 yds and 8 touchdowns on his way to be named the Towson men's Rookie of the Year.
Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell should have his hands full with Towson's secondary, which features four-year starters Jeremy Gardner and Ollie Thomas.
Another player that can make an impact is senior defensive tackle Yaky Ibia, who recently earned preseason All-CAA honors. Ibia comes in at 6-2, 285 and finished last season with 52 tackles (11.5 TFL), 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

The Bottom Line:
This game should obviously end with a win for the Hoosiers, but we saw last season with Eastern Kentucky that just because an FCS team is coming to town it does not guarantee an easy victory. Indiana should have no problem putting points on the board and it will be exciting to see Duwyce Wilson getting some reps in the slot for the first time. We could also see newcomers Dre Kates, Lenyatta Kiles, and Kofi Hughes getting some field time in this game. The only concern I have is keeping the Tigers out of the end zone. Chris Hart is a solid quarterback and is a threat to pass it and run it. He will be a good first test for our fresh new defense. I doubt the Hoosiers will be able to hold Towson (or any team at this point) to under 20 points in this game, but I predict a 38-21 victory for IU.

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