The Towson University football team opened its preseason camp earlier this week with high energy and even higher expectations.
The overachieving squad looks to improve on last season, which saw a record-setting 13 wins and culminated in an unprecedented trip to the FCS national championship game in Frisco, Texas.
“They looked good, they really did,” said head coach Rob Ambrose after the first day of practice, where the players wore helmets but no pads as they ran through drills. “Considering where we are and how young we are, I’m really pleased.”
Where they are is on the cusp of another promising season. The NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches Poll has ranked the team No. 7 to begin the season. That ranking is down just five spots from last year’s finish, which remains the highest ranking achieved by a Towson football team since the university rejoined the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in 2001.
But this season is not without its challenges. The 12-game schedule for 2014—which now includes game times—will feature seven TV appearances, as well as some tough clashes against CAA foes Delaware and Maine and a Sept. 6 contest at West Virginia University in Morgantown. And the young team will take the field without eight starters on offense, including veteran leaders Eric Pike and Terrance West who both entered the NFL.
But this Tiger team has never flinched in the face of pressure.
“Last year’s not the focus,” said Ambrose at the 2014 CAA Football Media Day. “We remember where we came from, we know where we want to get back to and we know what it takes. It’s a new year, and a new focus.”
The season opens on Sat., Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. in Johnny Unitas Stadium, where the Tigers will take on Central Connecticut. Towson fans are encouraged to create a “Gold Rush” by wearing gold apparel to the game. Single-season tickets for the team’s six home games are on sale now.