New Hampshire hands Towson worst home defeat in school history

TOWSON, MD -- After watching his Tigers fall behind 30-0, en route to a 57-7 loss to No. 6 New Hampshire, Rob Ambrose was asked if there were any positives to the worst home loss in Towson football history.

“Nobody died,” the first-year head coach quipped.

That bit of levity aside, there wasn’t much that went right for the Tigers. They turned the ball over eight times, committed eight penalties and managed just seven points to fall to 1-3 on the season.

Things started to go badly for Towson right from the opening kickoff. Hakeem Moore, still recovering from a broken hand suffered in the preseason, bobbled the kickoff. After Towson picked up a single first down, the Tigers punt was blocked, leading to a five-play, 20-yard drive for New Hampshire, capped off by a Chad Kackert 7-yard touchdown.

Over the next three minutes and 50 seconds, the Wildcats racked up 23 more points, while running just four more plays from scrimmage. A touchdown pass, a safety, a kick return touchdown and an interception return touchdown left Towson in a 30-point hole before the young Tigers could even regroup.

“I’ve got a litany of times when I was here, of big numbers early in the game and big comebacks,” Ambrose said. "And the difference between then and now is nothing but age."

It was more than halfway through the first quarter before either team ran a play from New Hampshire’s side of the field, and with 7:09 left in the first quarter, the Wildcats had 30 points to Towson’s 11 yards.

“We got a bad snap over the head because of our pressure,” New Hampshire coach Sean McDonnell said. “We returned a kick. Those are just two big momentum swings that are huge when you’re trying to establish some things.”

Towson scored its only touchdown early in the second quarter. Freshman Alex Blake dropped a pass, leading to a punt situation, but New Hampshire muffed the punt, giving Towson possession again. The Tigers went right back to Blake, who deflected a fade pass to himself for his first career touchdown.

After the drop, Ambrose had pulled Blake aside on the sideline for some one-on-one coaching, before going right back to him.

“I told him that he's going to have a very long and successful career here, if he does what he's taught," Ambrose said. "And he will remember that play in his career as the bad one that gave him focus for all the good ones."

The touchdown was one of the few good plays for Towson, in a game in which the Tigers used three different quarterbacks, who combined to complete nine passes. Starter Peter Athens was seven of 20 for 67 yards, with Towson's lone touchdown and five of the team's six interceptions. Tommy Chroniger, who wasn't used last week in a loss to Morgan State, was 0-2, while sophomore Blair Peterson was 2-of-6 for 40 yards and an interception. After the game, Ambrose called his quarterback situation "extremely frustrating."

"You saw some plays made that were indicative of the skill level," he said. "You saw some bonehead plays that were indicative of many things."

Ambrose pulled Athens from the game before he could challenge Dan Crowley's single-game school record for interceptions thrown.

"It is what it is," Ambrose said of the turnovers. "Are they all his fault? No. But as a quarterback, you're damn right they're all his fault. Physically, are they all his fault? No way."

The Tigers were in danger of setting a school record for the most points allowed in a game -- 62, done three times, including twice against New Hampshire -- but the Wildcats were shut out in the fourth quarter. Ambrose, who has preached playing 60 minutes, admitted his team didn't do that Saturday, but was pleased with the effort at the end.

"I'm a little pleased at the eyes I saw," Ambrose said of his team. "They believe, they just don't know how yet."

NOTES: Towson's next game is at Rhode Island. The Tigers have won the last two meetings with the Rams, though Rhode Island leads the all-time series, 5-4 … Late in the fourth quarter, Ambrose got into a verbal confrontation with a spectator. He addressed the situation in his postgame news conference. "What he said was embarrassing to myself and my family, but I still should have kept my mouth shut." … For the first time this season, Tremayne Dameron was not the team's leading rusher. Dominique Booker had 64 yards on 12 rushes, though 37 of his yards came in the fourth quarter, when the game had long since been decided.

Postgame News Conference Audio
- Towson - 13:08, 6.3 MB
- New Hampshire - 3:34, 1.7 MB