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Towson QB Peter Athens (shoulder) 'ready to go' vs. North Dakota State

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Towson and North Dakota State practiced Thursday for the first time at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, as they prepare for the Football Championship Subdivision title game at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Here are a few notes and quotes courtesy of transcripts provided by the NCAA:

-- Fifth-year senior quarterback Peter Athens continues to insist that he intends to line up under center with the rest of the starting offense Saturday.

Barring unforeseen complications stemming from a sprained right (throwing) shoulder suffered in the No. 7 seed Tigers’ 35-31 semifinal upset of No. 3 seed Eastern Washington, Athens said he is prepared to lead the nation’s 52nd-ranked passing attack against a Bison defense that ranks sixth nationally against the pass.

“The shoulder is feeling good, and I am ready to go,” he said. “I have been practicing all week, and it has been good.”

-- One of the game's more intriguing matchups pits Towson junior running back Terrance West against North Dakota State's run defense.

West already has set FCS records for rushing yards in a season (2,410) and total touchdowns (41). Meanwhile, the Bison rank first in the country in rush defense (90.2 yards per game) and have allowed just three players to rush for 100 yards or more this season.

“They have a pretty good defense, but we have been playing against good defenses all year long,” West said. “It’s all about executing and who wants it most, and we have been doing that all year long playing on the road. We just have to defeat every obstacle they throw our way.”

-- As back-to-back reigning national champion, North Dakota State has the rare opportunity to capture three straight FCS crowns. Only Appalachian State has won three in a row.

“It is hard to put into words what it would mean,” senior Bison quarterback Brock Jensen said. “It would be a historic deal. Greatness is right there ahead of us. We have accomplished greatness twice in a row, but three times in a row would be legendary, and that is what we are trying to do.”

Coach Craig Bohl has publicly expressed his admiration for former Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore, who was invited to speak to North Dakota State earlier in the year.

“If you just look at the record book, I think Appalachian State is the only other team to do it,” Bohl said. “That is part of history, and we have a great deal of respect for Coach Moore and Appalachian State, and for us to have our program in that same place will be very special.”

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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