NCAA FCS Second Round
Time: 3:35 p.m.
Where: Johnny Unitas Stadium
Radio: 1570 AM
Series: Lehigh leads series 10-1
What's at stake: Towson continues its turnaround season in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs for the first time in its 25-year history at the level. The Tigers won their last three games of the season to clinch the CAA title and earn a first-round bye in the playoffs. They face a highly touted Lehigh team, whose only blemish is an overtime loss to New Hampshire in September. The Mountain Hawks ended the season on a nine-game winning streak and routed Lafayette 37-13 in their season finale.
Key matchup: Perhaps the biggest surprise on the Towson roster this season is freshman running back Terrence West, who was awarded the CAA's Offensive Rookie of the Year award after scoring an FCS-best 27 touchdowns and averaging 124.2 yards. He faces a stiff defense in Lehigh, which has allowed less than 12 points per game in the final seven games of the season. Teams are averaging just 2.9 yards per rush and have scored eight total rushing touchdowns against the Mountain Hawks this season. If the Tigers expect to move on, they'll need production out of their prized freshman running back.
Players to watch: Lehigh quarterback Chris Lum is one of the best signal-callers Towson has faced this season. The senior is one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award, which is handed out to the top offensive player in the FCS. He ranks third in the FCS in passing yards per game (348.6) and second in touchdown passes (31). Two of the Tigers' defensive starters — Frank Beltre and Jordan Dangerfield — earned first-team All-CAA honors. Beltre led the Tigers with 11 tackles for a loss, while Dangerfield had 82 tackles as well as two interceptions and two forced fumbles.