Towson St. rather offensive in loss, which gives Combs reason for hope


Of the eight college football teams in the state that lost last weekend, none has a better chance to rebound with a victory this week than Towson State.

The Tigers, who will play host to Bucknell Saturday night at Minnegan Stadium, actually played better than it would seem in losing their opener at Rhode Island, 36-19.

"We played well," says first-year coach Gordy Combs. "We were 13-7 going into the fourth quarter, and later we got to 27-13. We ran 83 plays to their 74. We had 426 yards total offense. We just couldn't catch up."

Towson's heralded transfer from Purdue, Tony Vinson, ran 20 yards the first time he got the ball. In 18 more carries, however, he added only 45 yards.

"Tony'll be fine," says Combs. "He's a little rusty because he hadn't been in competition for a year. But he was everything we hoped he'd be.

"Our quarterback, Dan Crowley, was 25 of 49 for 328 yards and three touchdowns. Remember -- Crowley's a true sophomore, not a redshirt sophomore. He's still very young."

No wonder Combs says of his Tigers' next game: "We'll be very entertaining."

Bucknell is 1-1 with a 41-24 win over Bloomsburg and a 34-0 loss to Villanova, a Division I-AA powerhouse ranked in the top five in the country in both polls. Bucknell has a junior receiver, Damon Garner, from Mount St. Joseph.

* Frustration with Maryland's football program a year ago led to quarterback John Kaleo being booed at College Park when he appeared in six games following an injury to Jim Sandwisch.

Now, even though the 1992 Terps are 0-2, Byrd Stadium spectators, what few there are, are learning to appreciate Kaleo's leadership, talent and toughness. Guarantee you Kaleo's tough, the way he took those shots from N.C. State defenders last Saturday and bounced right back.

* Speaking of boos, who would have dreamed when Cal Ripken was winding up his MVP career year last September that he would be booed here a year later? It's sad.

* Mark Rypien should know better than to shoot back at the RFK Stadium fans who booed him Sunday in the Washington Redskins' 24-17 win over Atlanta. The QB, who held out through most of the preseason, says he deserves better when he is introduced or when he misses a receiver late in the game. Somebody in the front office should tell Rypien he can't win this one. Next time, the booing will be worse.

* If you're disheartened by the recent slide of the Orioles, think how the fans in New York must feel. In the Apple, the Yankees and Mets are hopelessly out of the pennant races, the NFL Giants and Jets are 0-2 and the fans are already looking ahead to the Knicks' and Rangers' seasons.

The Yankees have shown some genuine potential lately, much of it while sweeping the O's here last week, but people in New York wonder, with good reason, how long it will take owner George Steinbrenner to screw it up when he returns next year.

* One-time Orioles GM Lee MacPhail is mentioned as a successor to ousted commissioner Fay Vincent, even though MacPhail, now in retirement after having run the Yankees and serving as American League president, says he doesn't want the job.

My feeling is that you never give any job to someone who doesn't want it. Proof of that is the miserable year the Orioles turned in under Earl Weaver after he was coaxed out of retirement by Edward Bennett Williams.

Since the new commissioner, whoever he or she may be, will have no real powers, why bother to have one at all? Just let auto dealer and Brewers owner Bud Selig continue as the designated commish appointed by his peers. The peers are going to decide everything anyway.

* It was most fitting that the Orioles held a memorial service Sunday in the DH Lounge, presided over by the club chaplain, Monsignor Martin Schwallenberg, for Helen Conklin, who died last week. The moment of silence at the ballpark before Friday night's game also was deserved.

A secretary in the public relations department for 21 years, Helen served with extraordinary dedication. She was the first one in the office in the morning and she would work, after night games at Memorial Stadium, until 1 o'clock the following morning -- even though bosses such as Bob Brown, Frank Cashen and Hank Peters told her it wasn't necessary. There aren't many like Helen Conklin in any field.

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