Towson junior running back Terrance West leads the Football Championship Subdivision in touchdowns with 15 and ranks second in rushing with 896 yards.
So it's not surprising that No. 3 Towson can -- and does -- rely on the Baltimore native and Northwestern graduate to power the offense. But the Tigers (6-0 overall and 2-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association) proved that they can gain yards and score points through the air, too.
The offense gained a season-high 379 passing yards in Saturday’s 44-28 victory over league rival New Hampshire (1-3, 0-1), which dropped from Nos. 19 to 25 in the latest FCS poll released Monday by The Sports Network.
Fifth-year senior quarterback Peter Athens completed 22 of 33 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns. The completions and yardage are career bests for Athens, eclipsing his previous high of 20 completions and 252 yards.
Junior wide receiver Spencer Wilkins established career bests with seven catches for 153 yards and one touchdown. The Ellicott City native and Mount Hebron graduate’s previous highs were five receptions and 103 yards.
The passing performance might have helped alleviate concerns about Towson’s ability to win games if West is stymied. The outing certainly showed that Athens could spark the team with his arm, but he said he is not worried about critics who questioned his ability.
“If anyone doubts me, I know my teammates don’t and neither do my coaches, and that’s really all that matters,” Athens said. “In a game like this, it’s not me. It’s the line opening up holes and opening up things for Terrance for him to make good runs and opening up things in the pass game. Our receivers do a great job of doing what they do.”
The Tigers know that West carries the offense, but Wilkins said the players responsible for the passing attack can uphold their end of the bargain.
“There’s definitely confidence,” Wilkins said. “I have confidence in the young receivers. They know what they’re doing. We have confidence in the quarterback that he’s going to get it to us. We’ve just got to make the plays.”
Coach Rob Ambrose called the numbers “sexy,” but he also insisted that the coaches and players are not going to get bogged down in the statistics.
“Stats are stats, and the only one that truly matters is the one that gets right next to the W, and we are one step closer to our goal,” he said. “We’re not there. The season isn’t won in one game, it’s not lost in one game. We have a lot more work to do and come tomorrow, we’re going to watch the tape and see what we did well, see what we did wrong, and get ready for the next one.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun