When the Towson football team captured a share of last year’s Colonial Athletic Association title, the offense was helmed by dual-threat quarterback Grant Enders. This fall, the program – ranked No. 3 in the latest Football Championship Subdivision poll by The Sports Network – is off to a 5-0 start and a 1-0 record in the conference with an offense guided by Peter Athens, who is more of a traditional pocket passer.
To Sean McDonnell, the difference between Enders in 2012 and Athens in 2013 is only stylistic. The New Hampshire coach – whose 1-2 team is ranked 19th and will meet the Tigers this Saturday at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson – said both quarterbacks have demonstrated a knack for winning games.
“I’ve been pretty impressed with Peter Athens,” McDonnell said Monday during a conference call organized by the league. “He’s done a great job of picking up where they left off at the quarterback position. If you watch him, he finds open guys. He’s making the checks with his eyes, going through the progressions, and he’s doing a very good job. I think the offensive line protects him quite well, and I think they’ve got a great bunch of guys. A hell of an offensive scheme, a hell of a football team.”
Thus far, Athens, a fifth-year senior, has played well in his first season as a full-time starter since 2009. He has completed 62.8 percent (76-of-121) of his passes for 989 yards. He has tossed six touchdowns against four interceptions.
Athens went just 10-of-21 for 104 yards and one touchdown and was intercepted twice in Towson’s 35-21 victory over Stony Brook last Saturday night. Despite that hiccup, Ambrose has redeemed coach Rob Ambrose’s faith in choosing him as the starting quarterback.
“Once you have the intangibles, the brain, the physicality to be able to earn the right to be the starting quarterback, the first thing you have to do is not go backwards, to not lose the game. The ball’s in your hands every play, and the ability not to lose the game – and I know that sounds incredibly trite and stupid – it’s huge, and Peter hasn’t done that,” Ambrose said. “We’re undefeated, and he’s the starting quarterback of a team that is undefeated. Now I will tell you flat-out that he played the least-best that he has played so far, and nobody knows that better than him. If you’re not thinking and you’re not growing, then you’re dying. Peter’s in here thinking and making sure he learns from the mistakes he made last week. We are going to need a better effort from him if we’re going to continue on this stretch. There’s no question in my mind.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun