Towson football team has to solve stingiest defense in country in William & Mary

Averaging 40.3 points this season, the Towson football team’s offense ranks 11th in the Football Championship Subdivision. That reputation could be tested this Saturday when the No. 10 Tigers visit No. 16 William & Mary.

The Tribe (7-3 overall and 4-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association) feature the stingiest defense in the country, tying No. 1 North Dakota State by surrendering just 12.2 points per game this fall. It’s a unit that has caught the attention of Towson coach Rob Ambrose.

“The more I watch on film, the more impressed I am,” he said Monday. “I think they are extremely mature, fast, physical, and they set the tone for the entire team. This is one of the best defenses I’ve seen since I’ve been back in this league.”

William & Mary has permitted just one offensive touchdown in its last three games – all were victories against top 20 opponents – and caused three turnovers in each of its last two contests. But Ambrose said the key to the defense’s success has been a cooperative effort by the Tribe players.

“Normally, you watched in some of the years when they just had some superstars,” he said. “Not to take away anything from anybody individually, but I think the best comment that was said in the staff room was, ‘This defense is why people like to watch defense.’ They don’t watch it for one player. It’s 11 guys playing as one, and everybody fits their role perfect every play over and over. And they’re incredibly multiple. It’s not like they line up in one front and one coverage and just play it. These guys play multiple fronts and multiple coverages and mix and match everything. Everyone is in the right place at the right time together all the time, and that’s a hard thing to do. I give all the credit to [head] coach [Jimmye] Laycock and [defensive coordinator Scott] Boone. They’ve put a hell of a defense together.”

The Tigers (8-2, 4-2) scored a season-low 31 points in a one-point loss to No. 21 Delaware on Nov. 2, which might be cause for concern. But Laycock said he is expecting a determined Towson offense reinvigorated by last week’s bye.

“They’re a very good football team,” he said. “There’s no secret to that. They’ve got talent on both sides of the ball. Obviously, you look at the running back, [junior Terrance] West, and he’s a premier player. They’ve got a great offensive line, they do a good job of mixing it up on offense, and they’re very aggressive on defense. It’s just a very well-rounded, good team.”

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