Maybe it was nerves or the season-openening stage at home or the seemingly relentless pressure from the opposing defense. Whatever the reason, Connor Frazier’s debut as the Towson football team's starting quarterback was a shaky one Saturday night.
Making his first career start, the junior played inconsistently and was off target in the passing game as the Tigers fell to visiting Central Connecticut State, 31-27, at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Frazier, whose game-winning touchdown run propelled Towson to the Football Championship Subdivision title game in January, was outplayed by Eagles junior Nick Sangiacomo, who completed 22 of 28 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns.
Frazier finished 14-for-26 for just 125 yards and one touchdown through the air. After the game, he seemed to comprehend how his performance had impacted the offense.
“If we have to pass the ball, I’ve got to be able to make throws,” Frazier said. “That’s why coach [Rob Ambrose] is calling those plays. We’ve got to be able to run the ball, too. Tonight, we just made too many mistakes and couldn’t get anything going.”
Ambrose didn’t pull any punches in assessing Frazier’s outing.
“Poor,” Ambrose said. “I want to say he threw four out of six vertical balls that all landed out of bounds and [were] uncatchable. That’s unacceptable. I’m not going to have a lot of positive things to say about any aspect of our team. So if you want to ask me about Connor’s play, the quarterback play was poor.”
Frazier’s ground-game contributions, however, were not. He carried the ball 13 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns, including a career-long 49-yard run that gave the Tigers a 27-24 lead with 8 minutes, 52 seconds left in the game.
But with a West Virginia defense that did not surrender a passing touchdown Saturday in a 33-23 loss to No. 2 Alabama next on the Tigers' schedule, Frazier knows he must grow from the loss if Towson is to match some of last season’s success.
“I think, personally, I need to get in the film room more and watch more film and know my opponent like the back of my hand and be able to make plays for my team,” he said. “If things aren’t going right, I need to lead them and make sure they know that it’s all right and that we can move the ball.”