STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Towson State hit another bump on the nonscholarship I-AA football road yesterday.
For the second straight week, the Tigers traveled to the home of a one-time Division III power forced to I-AA by NCAA rules changes.
For the second straight week, they were beaten, this time 23-15 by Wagner College, the 1987 NCAA Division III national champions.
For the second straight week, Towson (1-2) was its own worst enemy, as it followed last week's six turnovers at Dayton with four more at Fischer Memorial Field.
Towson jumped to a 9-0 lead, scoring on its first two possessions via freshman quarterback Kevin Smith's 6-yard scoring pass to Bill Hughes and a 32-yard field goal by George Perdikakis.
Then came the turnovers. "They killed us," coach Gordy Combs said.
An interception and 20-yard return by Wagner's Anthony Abruzese set up tailback Kito Lockwood's 17-yard touchdown run off a screen.
Tailback Larry Washington, who rushed for 140 yards and a score, fumbled at midfield, setting up Wagner kicker Carl Franke's 24-yard field goal.
Maurice Sydnor fumbled the second-half kickoff at the Towson 32 and Wagner quarterback Jason Miletic cashed in on that opportunity with a 12-yard scoring pass to tight end Jim Bogacki.
Two plays later, Washington scored from 25 yards out, but Towson was still down 16-15, when a poor snap and slick footing bothered Perdikakis, whose extra-point attempt hit the left upright.
"I was disappointed our offensive line didn't take charge earlier," Combs said. "That's the strength of our team."
A 24-yard punt return by Shawn Ward and a roughing-the-passer penalty put Towson in position to score at the Wagner 13.
But a turnover stopped the Tigers short.
Sydnor went left on a draw, but as he stepped into the secondary, Wagner safety Jason Scholz jarred the ball free and fell on it.
"That's what the game is about," Combs said. "Wagner made the plays when they needed to, and we didn't."
Next for Towson
Site: Minnegan Stadium
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Yesterday: Beat St. John's, 47-0