The Towson and Brown football teams combined for 50 first downs, 1,023 yards of offense and 98 points yesterday, but it was two key defensive plays that turned the tide in a wild game at Towson University Stadium.
The Tigers intercepted Bears quarterback Kyle Slager four times in the fourth quarter, with two of the pickoffs leading to the decisive points in a 23-second span as Towson earned a 56-42 victory before a crowd of 3,198.
After Brown had rallied from a 21-point deficit to tie the game at 42 with 13:01 left in the game, the Towson secondary, which had been exploited all game by Slager, finally stepped up.
With just under 10 minutes remaining, Davon Telp intercepted Slager at the Brown 43, setting up a Tigers drive that culminated in a 32-yard touchdown run by Matt Romeo for a 49-42 lead.
On the Bears' next play from scrimmage, P.D. Moore sealed Towson's win, taking a Slager pass 24 yards the other way for Towson's final score.
The 98 total points set a Towson record for combined points, shattering the mark of 87 set in 1989 during a 48-39 loss to Lehigh. It also was the first win in school history against an Ivy League opponent.
"I thought it was a tennis match. My neck's a little sore from going back and forth," Towson coach Gordy Combs joked after the game. "We did what we wanted in the second half and then they got right back in the game."
The offensive highlights were abundant, as the Tigers (2-1) posted a season-high 531 yards of offense, 309 from the arm of Jay Amer. The junior quarterback threw four touchdown passes - one more than he had in all of 2001 - and completed a career-high 18 passes.
Romeo, a junior filling in for the injured Mikal Lundy, rushed for a career-high 168 yards and two touchdowns.
"We have a lot of confidence in Matt," Combs said. "He can carry the load, he's tough to tackle and rarely ever fumbles."
With Towson trailing 14-7 five minutes into the second quarter, Amer connected with wide-out Jamal White (nine catches, 167 yards) on an 80-yard touchdown pass.
Towson scored twice more before the half for a 28-14 advantage and built a 35-14 edge five minutes into the third quarter. But Brown retaliated, scoring on its next two possessions to close within 35-28.
The resilient Bears (0-1) eventually tied the game at 42 thanks to Slager, who was 28-for-49 for 434 yards and five touchdown passes, a stadium record.
Brown coach Phil Estes said that not having played yet put his team at a disadvantage.
"You find out an awful lot about your football team in the first game, so you go into it a little blind," said Estes, whose team had 492 yards of offense. "We need to go back to the drawing board and look at our team and re-evaluate. To have two games under your belt and to really know what your strengths and weaknesses are [benefited Towson]."
Next for Towson
Site:Fitton Field, Worcester, Mass.
When:Saturday, 1 p.m.
Yesterday:Lost to Harvard, 28-23.