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Towson Gold Team Edges Black Team In Tiger Bowl, 21-16
Playing in his first competitive game in 18 months, quarterback Peter Athens completed 11 of 22 passes for 202 yards and three touchdowns as the Gold Team edged the Black Team, 21-16, in a very competitive Tiger Bowl at Johnny Unitas® Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Athens, who started six games as a first-year freshman in 2009, suffered an ACL injury midway through the season. He missed the balance of the 2009 season and the entire 2010 campaign while recovering.
Athens also caught a 32-yard pass on a trick play when wide receiver Tom Ryan shifted to quarterback.
The offenses started very slowly in the Tiger Bowl as defensive end Ben Chroniger had two sacks in a scoreless first quarter. D.J. Soven, who punted for both teams, was called upon to punt eight times in the first quarter.
“Both teams started very slowly on offense,” said Towson Coach Rob Ambrose. “I was letting some of our younger coaches call plays and many of them were ‘vanilla.’ But, after a while, I started sending some plays into the game and the offenses started moving.”
On the second play of the second quarter, Athens fired a 63-yard touchdown pass down the middle to Spencer Wilkins, giving the Gold team a 6-0 lead. Soven’s conversion gave the Gold a 7-0 advantage.
Moments later, Brian Potts completed a short pass to Sherman Greene, who fumbled at the Black team 32-yard line. Defensive back Eric Schuster, who forced the fumble, recovered to give the ball back to the Gold Team.
Five plays later, Athens fired an 18-yard touchdown pass to Alex Blake. Soven’s conversion kick made it 14-0.
The Gold Team maintained its lead until the final minute of the first half. In the final minute, Potts directed a 45-yard, five-play drive which resulted in a touchdown on the final play of the first half. Running back Terrance West scored the tying TD on a five yard run to cut the deficit to 14-7.
In the third quarter, a 30-yard interception return by cornerback Nick Oates set up a 27-yard field goal by Soven that pulled the Black Team to within 14-10.
But, Athens directed a 70-yard, eight play drive that resulted in a two-yard TD run by Ryan McLean to give the Black team a 21-10 lead. Athens also played wide receiver on the drive as he made a diving, one-handed catch at the two-yard line off a pass from Ryan on a trick play.
With the Gold Team owning a 21-10 lead in the fourth quarter, Athens switched sides and played quarterback for the Black Team. He directed a 61-yard, six-play drive that resulted in a 17-yard touchdown pass to Arione Scott. The Black Team tried for the two-point conversion but the attempt failed when West was stopped at the line of scrimmage.
While Athens passed for 202 yards in the Tiger Bowl, Potts completed 11 of 21 passes for 157 yards. Freshman quarterback Jarred Evans completed three of five passes for 67 yards.
Blake was the Tigers’ top receiver with five catches for 71 yards and a touchdown while Wilkins had three receptions for 96 yards and a TD. Greene caught three passes for 76 yards while Scott had two catches for 53 yards and a touchdown.
West was clearly the Tigers’ top rusher in the Tiger Bowl. A product of Northwestern High School in Baltimore, he ran for 89 yards on 15 carries and scored a touchdown.
“Terrance West really helped himself in the Tiger Bowl,” said Coach Ambrose. “Early in the spring, he was really running well. Then, he got a little nicked up. During the last two scrimmages, he was soft as butter.
“To his credit, he responded to the challenge,” he added. “He ran very hard today and he showed me something.”
Linebacker Trevor Walker was the leading tackler for the Gold Team. He made eight tackles and forced a fumble. Linebacker Drew Cheripko added six tackles while defensive end Chroniger made five tackles, including three sacks.
“Ben Chroniger is too small and too short,” says Ambrose. “But, he just loves to play football and he keeps getting better.”
Defensive end Romale Tucker led the Black Team with eight tackles, including a sack. Defensive tackle Rob Osborne added six tackles and had a sack while linebacker Kyle Polk made five tackles and also had a sack.
“Our defense played very solid,” added Ambrose. “They’ve done well all spring. I am pleased with the way they are playing smarter and playing physical. We want to become a cerebral team and a fast team on defense and we are moving towards that goal.”
With the Tiger Bowl, the Tigers’ spring practice season has been completed.
The Tigers open their 2011 season on September 3 against Morgan State in Unitas Stadium.
By Towson University Sports Information