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SportsThe Schmuck Stops Here

Towson's unlikely win features unlikely hero

Towson TigersFootballBaltimore RavensPeter Athens

The Towson Tigers are headed to the FCS championship game after a shocking comeback victory that featured an amazing performance from a very unlikely hero.

Backup quarterback Connor Frazier was pressed into service when starter Peter Athens suffered what appeared to be a shoulder separation near the end of the first half. The Tigers were leading 21-7 at the time and appeared to be on the way to closing out the second quarter with another touchdown when a fumbled snap shifted the momentum dramatically.

From then on, it was all Eastern Washington until the final five minutes of the game. The Eagles scored 31 unanswered points to take a 10-point lead, but Frazier found his legs midway through the fourth quarter and willed Towson back into the game. He drove the Tigers down the field for a pair of late touchdowns and capped the 35-31 victory with a quarterback sneak into the end zone with just 17 seconds left in the game.

The Eagles managed to keep Towson MVP Terrance West from running wild, but could not contain Towson’s offense in the first half because Athens was able to take advantage of the defensive focus on the running game to pick apart the Eastern Washington secondary. When he left the game, the Eagles continued to pack the line of scrimmage and keep the linebackers up, but Frazier eventually found the cracks in that defensive scheme and led the Tigers to the biggest victory in Towson football history.

Apparently, heartstopping comebacks are becoming a Baltimore trademark. The Ravens have pulled off two in a row to keep their playoff hopes alive, and now this. It's been a terrific season for Rob Ambrose and the Tigers, but the way they won their 12th straight road game was a testament to good coaching, tough players and overall resilience.

They’re going to face another daunting challenge when they head to Frisco, Texas, to face North Dakota State, which is attempting to win its third straight FCS championship. If Athens cannot play, the Tigers will be a huge underdog, but after what Frazier pulled off on the blood-red turf at Eastern Washington, it would be foolhardy to count them out.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

twitter.com/SchmuckStop

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Towson TigersFootballBaltimore RavensPeter Athens
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