Saturday night's 45-35 loss to No. 15 Villanova will likely drop Towson from No. 3 in the Football Championship Subdivision poll when it is released later Monday by The Sports Network. But there may be a silver lining to the Tigers' first loss of the season.
At 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association, Towson will no longer have to deal with the increased scrutiny that accompanies every team with an undefeated record.
The absence of a loss can amplify the pressure on players and coaches to remain unbeaten, and coach Rob Ambrose suggested as much Monday morning during his weekly conference call organized by the league.
“There’s some conversation maybe about getting the elephant off your shoulders a little bit and finding out that you’re human and getting re-centered and getting focused on the things that got you this far to begin with,” he said. “But it is what it is. It’s already done. We wish we could get it back, especially the first quarter, but we can’t. Just like any other aspect of the game, if we’re not learning, then we’re dying, and we had a lot to learn from last week’s game, and we hope to use that moving forward.”
The flipside is that a loss can demoralize a team and send that team on a deeper slide. Albany coach Bob Ford, whose Great Danes will host the Tigers this Saturday, said he is not sure whether his team is catching Towson at the right time.
“That’s interesting because we talked about that this morning as a staff,” Ford said Monday morning. “You never know how 17- and 19-year-old kids are going to react. There are still roads that Towson can obviously take, and I know how Rob would like to have them react, and that is, they’re very upset about having gotten beat, and they’re going to come back and rectify that game and every other game on the schedule. Or the other thing happens with college kids sometimes -- and they dwell on that game and they dwell on that game and they dwell on that game, and the old cliché, ‘Don’t let one loss lead to two,' [comes into play]. I think the Duke college basketball coach [Mike Krzyzewski] said it best after every play, that whether they’re coming down the floor with a basket or a steal, he’s yelling to them, ‘Next play.’ I think the same thing is true of college football players. Next game. Let’s bring it on.”
Albany (1-6, 0-3) could be the perfect remedy for the Tigers, whom Ambrose anticipates will be motivated to wipe away the memory of the loss to Villanova.
“I don’t want to use anger, but there’s a goal in mind and there’s a focus needed to achieve that goal,” he said. “We didn’t have it come Saturday. That’s about us, but it’s also about the greatness of Villanova. They’re a great, great team. I think our guys will be ready, very ready to play Albany this weekend.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun