The Towson Tigers wrapped up their 50th season of football and have a lot to be proud of. From being picked by the media to finish 10th in the CAA to a fourth place finish and a FCS playoff appearance this team has come much farther than expected. As the 2018 season has gone final, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and see how far the Tigers came in 2018.
A Golden Celebration for the Black and Gold, Part 1
After a 10-0 victory over the Bears last season, the Tigers headed a few miles to seek a second straight win in the Battle for Greater Baltimore. Morgan State scored the first touchdown on a fumble recovery on special teams. The Tigers then scored 24 unanswered points, shutting out the Bears in the second and fourth quarters. Junior kicker Aiden O’Neill hit four field goals. These field goals were more than half of the Tigers points. The Tigers won 36-10 and began the year in the win column.
The Tigers headed to Winston-Salem for a matchup with the Demon Deacons of the ACC. Looking for their first FBS win since beating UCONN in 2014, the Tigers played a very close first quarter. They swapped touchdowns with the Deacons. Tied at 14 heading into the second quarter, Wake Forest began to pull away as the Tigers surrendered two punt return touchdowns to sophomore wide receiver Greg Dortch. Shutting out the Tigers in the second half, Wake Forest won 51-20.
In their third straight road game, the Tigers traveled to Villanova to face the number 10 Wildcats. The Wildcats got out to a quick 14-0 lead in the first quarter using home field to their advantage. The Tigers came back scoring 21 unanswered points to end the first quarter with a seven-point lead. Redshirt junior running back Shane Simpson scored his second touchdown midway through the quarter. Junior running back Yeedee Thaenrat made it a 21 point Tiger lead at halftime. Towson would keep the lead for the rest of the game, upsetting Villanova 45-35.
After an early bye week, the Tigers returned home for a three-game homestand starting with The Citadel. The number 25 ranked Tigers earned their first FCS ranking since 2014 before the game. The Tigers got out to an early 7-0 lead on a 29-yard pass to redshirt senior wide receiver Sam Gallahan. The Citadel scored a field goal in the closing seconds of the first quarter to cut Towson’s lead to four. In the second quarter, the Tigers outscored the Bulldogs 17-7 including two rushing touchdowns by Flacco. The 14 point lead at halftime would stay with Towson as the Tigers outscored the Bulldogs 20-17 in the second half. They would go on to win 44-27. The Tigers picked up their third win accumulating 608 yards of total offense.
The 23rd ranked Tigers returned to Johnny Unitas Stadium for their second home game against the number 13 ranked Stony Brook Seawolves. The Tigers started the game off with a 96 yard touchdown by Simpson on the opening kickoff. Simpson would score on the ground and redshirt sophomore wide receiver Chris Clark caught a touchdown to take a commanding 21-0 lead into the second quarter. The Seawolves responded by scoring 14 unanswered. Towson then took over and scored 24 unanswered in route to a 52-28 win. Redshirt junior Shane Leatherbury led the Tigers with nine catches for 129 yards. Simpson also finished with 204 all-purpose yards. Stony Brook came in as the top rushing team in the CAA averaging 222 yards, the Tigers held them to only 104. This was the second consecutive victory over a top 15 team for the Tigers.
William and Mary
The Tigers came in ranked 17th and ended their celebration of Family Weekend with a victory over William and Mary. With over 8,000 fans in attendance, the largest crowd for a Tiger home game witnessed a slow start by both teams. With four minutes left in the first quarter, Towson put the first point on the board as sophomore running back Kobe Young scored. After a 46-yard field goal by O’Neill to open the second quarter, the Tribe responded with 13 unanswered to take a three-point halftime lead.
The second half began with a Simpson score to take back the lead. The Tigers would score two more touchdowns including an acrobatic catch with a defender smothering him by Allen. He got a foot in bounds and after a review. His touchdown was featured on ESPN twice, including a segment hosted by Randy Moss before Monday Night Football. In a defensive game, redshirt junior linebacker Robert Heyward led the Tigers with 13 tackles and redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Bryce Carter contributed ten tackles and two sacks.
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