AMHERST, N.Y. -- Towson State's football team may have seen its hopes for an undefeated season end last weekend, but the Tigers didn't let that affect them yesterday.
Towson State scored 24 points in its first four possessions and cruised to a 38-14 victory over the University of Buffalo at UB Stadium yesterday.
Coach Gordy Combs wasn't worried about a letdown. "This is a mature football team," he said. "Last week's game against Howard came down to one play."
There was no chance of yesterday's game coming down to the final play, thanks to a variety of heroes. Tony Vinson continued to put his name in some new places in the Towson State record book with 209 yards on 30 carries. That gives him a season total of 1,062, the highest in school history. Vinson also is the first back to go over 2,000 rushing yards in a career at Towson, despite playing only two seasons and missing three games of his first with a season-ending knee injury.
"We came into this game knowing there was nothing we could do about last week except win this one," said Vinson, a Purdue transfer who has rushed for 2,104 yards at Towson.
Vinson didn't get into the end zone yesterday, but some of his teammates spent a lot of time there. John Swigart scored three touchdowns, and Dan Crowley threw three touchdown passes as part of a 22-for-37 afternoon.
The Towson State offense, one of the best in the country statistically, was in top form early. The Tigers (5-1) scored those 24 points in the first 20 minutes. Swigart had an 8-yard touchdown run, Crowley threw 11 yards to Andrew Fields and 7 yards to Mike Mazur for scores, and Buddy Dunn had a 30-yard field goal in that span. In the meantime, Buffalo (1-7) was held to one first down, and that came on a roughing-the-kicker call.
A fumble recovery by Buffalo's Kareem Stroman deep in Towson State territory finally gave the Bulls some hope. Cliff Scott threw a 22-yard scoring pass to Doc Smith on the next play, narrowing the margin to 24-7 with seven minutes left in the half. On UB's next possession, Scott hit Rusty Knapp with a 53-yard scoring pass, and Towson State's lead was down to 24-14 with 3:12 left in the half.
Buffalo threatened to make it even closer in the final minute of the half when Towson's Don Zimmerman made perhaps the key play of the game, intercepting a Scott pass at the Tigers' 16.
"We were in a deke situation where we were showing blitz," said Combs, whose Tigers picked off five passes on the day. "We backed up into zone coverage. We thought they were going to throw into the flat, and Donny was there to make a great play."
The Tigers moved back in control on their second possession of the second half. Swigart scored on a 4-yard run, and the Bulls never threatened after that. Towson State added one last touchdown on a Crowley pass to Swigart in the final three minutes.
"We wanted to re-establish ourselves offensively and defensively," Combs said. "We wanted to get back on track."
Towson State certainly accomplished that goal yesterday afternoon.
Towson State 17 7 7 7 -- 38
Buffalo 0 14 0 0 -- 14
NEXT FOR TOWSON
When: Saturday at Hempstead, N.Y.