Despite a career-long 49-yard touchdown run from junior quarterback Connor Frazier, the Towson football team dropped a 31-27 decision to Central Connecticut State Saturday evening at Unitas Stadium in the season-opener for both teams.
With the Tigers down 24-21 and 10:54 left in the game, senior Derrick Joseph returned a kickoff 30 yards to the Towson 33 yard line. A pair of Darius Victor rushes and a quarterback keeper got the Tigers near midfield. Frazier took it from there, finding a seam and breaking open a 49-yard TD run that put Towson in front, 27-24. The teams then traded drives that ended in punts.
The visiting Blue Devils got the ball back with 4:52 remaining and drove to the Tiger 30-yard line before senior defensive end Ryan Delaire sacked CCSU quarterback Nick SanGiacomo to set up a fourth-and-13. SanGiacomo then completed a 34-yard pass to Joey Fields, and Rob Hollomon ran in for the go-ahead score two plays later.
Trailing 31-27, Frazier nearly engineered an amazing comeback drive with just 31 seconds remaining. The Tigers drove the ball to the CCSU 29-yard line, but Frazier’s pass to sophomore wide receiver Andre Dessenberg was ruled incomplete as the clock expired. Dessenberg snagged the ball between a pair of Blue Devil defenders, but was apparently unable to keep his foot in bounds.
Frazier rushed for 80 yards and a pair of TD’s and was 14-for-26 passing the ball for 125 yards. Victor tied his career-high, set in the 2013 FCS playoffs against Fordham, with 105 rushing yards on 19 carries. Victor rushed for a seven-yard touchdown with 4:20 remaining in the third quarter that put the Tigers ahead, 14-13. It was the sophomore’s eighth career touchdown.
Joseph had a team-high five receptions, while classmate Spencer Wilkins led the Tigers in receiving yards with 31 on three catches. Sophomore tight end Tanner Vallely had two catches for 30 yards, including a touchdown that tied the game at 21-21 late in the third quarter.
Delaire had Towson’s only sack of the night, while redshirt freshman James Simms led the Tigers with 14 tackles and senior Drew Cheripko recovered a CCSU fumble.
Despite the disappointing setback on the field, there were two major bright spots off the field. The crowd of 8,058 featured a tremendous student section turnout, with most of the students sporting gold TU gear for the promoted “gold rush” during “LaborStay” weekend. And at halftime the crowd was treated to an appearance by Towson’s own American Ninja Warrior, 2012 grad Kacy Catanzaro, who was joined on the field by current gymnastics coaches Vicki Chliszczyk, Becky Schaller, and the 2014-15 Tiger gymnastics team.
Towson will put its 11-game road winning streak on the line next Saturday in Morgantown when they face West Virginia University, which lost to Alabama Saturday, 33-23. Next Saturday’s game can be heard live on CBS Sports Radio 1300 and it will be broadcast on ROOT Sports. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.