Overshadowed by offense, Towson's defense stands strong in Saturday's win vs. New Hampshire

The offense got many of the headlines, and rightfully so, in helping No. 3 Towson rally from a 20-3 deficit and cruise to a 44-28 thumping of No. 19 New Hampshire on Saturday. But the defense had a significant hand in the team getting out to a 6-0 overall start and a 2-0 record in Colonial Athletic Association play.

After allowing three touchdowns and 162 yards in the first quarter, the Tigers limited the Wildcats to one score and 283 yards for the rest of the game — an average of 94.3 yards per remaining quarter.

“I think we kind of broke them,” said senior outside linebacker Telvion Clark, who led Towson with 11 tackles, one sack and two forced fumbles. “It started in the second quarter. We kind of started getting into our groove. We kind of started coming together. What I really liked about the defense was that even though it was whatever, whatever score it was [in the first quarter], no one made a face, no one said a word. We didn’t need a pick-me-up. Everyone knew what the situation was. We know what we had to do, and we went out and did it.”

New Hampshire seemed to catch Towson off guard in that first quarter, as the offense rushed for 90 of its 169 yards and passed for 72 of its 276 yards.

Clark acknowledged that the Wildcats were moving at will from the outset.

“Early on, they were running with a purpose,” he said. “But once we really started hitting them in the mouth, I kind of noticed guys starting to go down a little early, right before you get there. I think you can credit that to the physicality of our game.”

The Tigers were also opportunistic in creating turnovers. They pounced on two fumbles and intercepted two passes from junior quarterback Andy Vailas, including on New Hampshire’s first offensive play of the second half.

Back on offense, Towson turned the takeaway into a touchdown and a 34-20 advantage.

“Obviously, the turnover to start the second half [was] just challenging because that team is so good at what they do — run the ball, play-action,” Wildcats coach Sean McDonnell said. “Then I thought defensively, if you watch them, they’re a very good team. They run to the football, they give you different looks, they put pressure on us and closed really quick. They’ve got athletic people.”

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