No. 7 Old Dominion (5-1, 2-1 CAA) at No. 18 Towson (3-3, 2-1 CAA)
Time: 7 p.m.
Site: Johnny Unitas Stadium, Towson, Md.
Series: Towson leads 1-0
What’s at stake: Towson scrapped out a 24-19 win over Maine last weekend to get back to .500 and 2-1 in conference play. Now sitting in the middle of the pack in the CAA standings, a win at home — where they have won three straight — puts them right back in a contending spot for the championship. Yet the Tigers will face a pretty big test. ODU is hungry to get back in the win column after a 38-14 loss to Villanova last week. And even though the Monarchs are ineligible for the CAA championship — leaving for Conference USA in 2013 — they are still fighting for an at-large bid in the FCS playoffs. Towson mounted an improbable comeback in last year’s meeting, highlighted by a 63-yard game-winning touchdown pass from Grant Enders to Tom Ryan on fourth-and-29.
Key Matchup: Old Dominion enters with the No. 1 total offense (588.7 ypg) and No. 1 passing offense (443 ypg) in the conference. Towson has the No.1 total defense and pass defense. When these teams played last year, they combined for a whopping 1,016 total yards in a 39-35 shootout win for Towson. The Tigers would surely like their defense, which is only giving up 272 yards per game (125 through the air), to do a better job shutting down the Monarchs’ offense.
Player to Watch: With the Monarchs looking to attack through the air, Towson defensive backs better be on their toes. A name that has been called more and more throughout the season is sophomore CB Tye Smith. Smith leads the defense with 39 tackles, 29 of which are solo tackles. He also leads the team with four pass breakups. But what makes Smith more dangerous is his ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. He has 2.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and has forced two fumbles. Towson will need him to be a shutdown corner as well as a disruptive force in the backfield.