Maine converted three fourth down conversions on its final drive, including a 37-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Dan Collins to Jordan Dunn with 52 seconds remaining, to lead the Black Bears over Towson, 27-24, in both teams’ Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) opener Saturday night before an announced crowd of 6,031 at Johnny Unitas® Stadium.
Sophomore Towson running back Darius Victor scored his second touchdown of the night from one yard out to give the Tigers (now 2-3 overall and 0-1 in the CAA) a 24-20 lead with 11:36 remaining. It appeared as though Towson was going to go up two scores on its next drive, but junior quarterback Connor Frazier fumbled on second-and-goal from the seven-yard line and opportunistic Maine recovered.
The Tiger defense held the Black Bears to a three-and-out on their next possession and Towson took over on its own 18-yard line with 6:44 remaining. The Tigers advanced into Maine territory, but the drive stalled and kicker Sam Hurwitz, who connected earlier in the game from 25 yards out, missed a 45-yard field goal to keep the Towson lead at 24-20.
Maine took over on its own 28 with 2:39 left in the contest. Facing fourth down after three incomplete passes, Collins hit Jared Osumah for a 21-yard gain to the Maine 49-yard line. Again staring at fourth down and needing nine yards, Collins found Jeremy Salmon for a 10-yard pickup down to the Towson 40. The trend continued on the next set of downs as on fourth-and-seven Collins found Dunn down the middle of the field for a 37-yard touchdown that gave the Black Bears as 27-24 lead with 52 seconds remaining.
The Tigers took over with 43 seconds showing on the Unitas Stadium clock and two timeouts, but couldn’t get the ball into Maine territory.
Towson outgained Maine 254-46 on the ground, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. The Tigers also held the edge in first downs (24-16), total yards (380-318) and offensive plays (78-64).
Victor rushed for 131 yards on a career-high 28 carries. The sophomore, who leads the CAA with four 100-yard rushing games this season, scored two touchdowns to bring his season total to six. Freshman Marquel Dickerson ran for a season-high 68 yards on just seven carries, while Frazier posted 55 yards on the ground. Frazier was 15 of 28 through the air for 126 yards, including one touchdown to redshirt freshman Zack Vogelei that put Towson up 20-17 late in the third quarter.
Senior Ryan Delaire recorded a career-high tying three sacks and seven tackles, including four for a total loss of 24 yards. Junior Tungie Coker, senior Drew Cheripko and sophomore Eric Handy also sacked the quarterback. Handy also made six tackles and registered his first career interception, while junior Donnell Lewis paced the Tigers with 11 tackles.
Towson wraps up its three-game homestand next Saturday against Stony Brook. The game is set to kickoff at 3:30 p.m.