For only the second time since Rob Ambrose became Towson's coach, the Tigers will open the season with a game at home, welcoming Central Connecticut State to Johnny Unitas Stadium on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The only other time in that span the Tigers played host to a season opener was in 2011, when they routed Morgan State, 42-3.
Although Towson is just two games above .500 at home (15-13) under Ambrose, the program is 13-5 at Johnny Unitas Stadium in the past three years, and Ambrose said the team’s recent success has had a noticeable impact in the stands.
“There is something special about this place, and it’s been growing for a while,” he said recently. “When I first got here, I don’t think we had 2,000 people in the stands. It’s gone up every year to the point where we’re hovering around 10,000 to 12,000 people for every game. Our students, our band, some in the local community have become very well-educated, intense, fanatical fans and they make it very challenging for some of the teams that come in here. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that. It’s a great place to play.”
In an effort to promote Saturday’s game as a “Gold Rush," university officials are encouraging fans to wear gold. Prior to kickoff, they will be able to watch an enhanced team introduction, featuring fireworks, a new Tiger head inflatable and gold smoke.
The tailgate lots will feature more fan inflatables, new obstacle courses and a cornhole game. A prize for the most spirited tailgate will be awarded, and fans will be able to take pictures with the Football Championship Subdivision finalist trophy.
Ambrose and the players would love to see a sell-out crowd, but perhaps more importantly, the coach hopes the fans are loud and intense.
“I want people to be really angry because they can’t get in because we don’t have enough seats,” he quipped. “I want it to be a great game-day atmosphere. I want it to be fun, something that people in the community can rally around. I want something that our students and community can be proud of.”