Towson made too many mistakes to overcome in a Colonial Athletic Association game with Richmond on Saturday.
The Tigers finished with six turnovers and had a touchdown negated because of a penalty. Those miscues, along with No. 13 Richmond’s potent offense, helped the Spiders score a 23-3 victory over Towson at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Towson coach Rob Ambrose said the miscues and missed chances proved crucial in this loss.
"We left 10 points on the field in the first half," Ambrose said. "I'm encouraged by my guys and their ability to fight, learn and grow through adversity."
In the first half, Towson quarterback Ryan Stover threw three interceptions and lost a fumble. Ambrose pulled Stover (7-for-11 for 94 yards) in the second quarter.
Three of Stover’s turnovers came on three straight plays in the first quarter (two interceptions plus a fumble) along with an interception that took place in the second period. Triston Harris replaced Stover, and the redshirt freshman completed 15 of 28 passes for 153 yards and an interception.
Towson (2-4, 0-3 CAA) also lost a touchdown in the first half after Keon Paye appeared to return an interception for a 92-yard score. The Tigers were called for an illegal block in the back, wiping out that score, and they finished throwing four interceptions and losing two fumbles.
"Look, when you turn the ball over six times in one game, you should be [losing] 55-0," Ambrose said. "But our kids ain't going to quit. I'd have to be an idiot not to be encouraged by the fight and the ability of these kids in their limited amount of time on this campus."
In addition, Towson struggled to stop the potent Spiders’ passing attack. Quarterback Kyle Lauletta completed 22 of 36 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns.
The Tigers were fortunate that their mistakes directly led to just three points in the first half as Richmond (4-2, 2-1) took a 17-0 lead at the break. The Spiders racked up 312 yards on offense in the first two quarters, 275 of which came in the air, and finished with 422 yards overall.
Richmond took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Gordon Collins ran for a 31-yard touchdown with 5:54 remaining. The Tigers then missed a chance to tie when the Paye touchdown was called back.
Stover threw his second interception of the quarter on the next play. The Tigers came back with their best drive of the half on the following series before stalling at the Spiders’ 33-yard line. Aidan O’Neill then pulled a 50-yard field goal wide left with 11:32 remaining in the first half.
Richmond stretched the lead to 17-0 with scores on its next two series. Lauletta threw a 15-yard scoring pass to Tyler Wilkins, and Griffin Trau added a 25-yard field goal on the following drive.
Harris led a good drive on Towson’s second possession of the third quarter, but it ended with the fifth Tigers turnover as Daniel Jones of Richmond made his second interception of the game. Jones picked off Harris in the end zone.
Towson finally got on the scoreboard when O’Neill kicked a 21-yard field goal with 13:25 left in the game, cutting the Richmond lead to 17-3.
Richmond answered later in the fourth quarter when Lauletta threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Wilkins. Trau’s extra point hit the left upright, and the Spiders held a 23-3 lead. Harris then led another Towson drive before Richmond stopped the Tigers on fourth-and-goal from the 7-yard line.
The Spiders defense came through several times when needed to keep Towson from scoring, although Richmond coach Russ Huesman thought his team could have done better.
"Three points is fantastic, but it wasn't our best effort," Huesman said. "Our [defense] came through and held them to three points. I'll give them credit for that."