WORCESTER, Mass. - That loss to Lafayette two weeks ago is looking more and more like what the Towson football team needed to jump-start its season.
"This team has been playing with a purpose since that game," Tigers coach Gordy Combs said after yesterday's impressive 42-10 rout of Holy Cross, which spoiled the Crusaders' homecoming and home opener before 7,844 at Fitton Field.
"That [Lafayette] game was very disappointing, especially on offense. We've really wanted to make a statement, to show that game was a fluke."
The strong start by the Tigers (3-1, 1-1 Patriot League) appears to be no fluke. Even with the 23-7 loss to Lafayette on Sept. 14 factored in, Towson has scored 154 points this season, more than last year's season total of 149 and the highest total after four games in school history.
Yesterday's win also was the Tigers' most lopsided Patriot League victory since joining the conference in 1997. They already have matched last year's three-win total and have scored 98 points in their past two games.
Yesterday, they also did it with defense, turning Holy Cross junior wide receiver Ari Confesor into a non-factor. Confesor entered the game leading the nation in kickoff-return average (40.8) and all-purpose yards per game (273), but was limited to 62 yards on three kickoff returns and had four catches for 48 yards.
The Tigers avoided kicking the ball to Confesor when possible, and defensively, they kept him in their sights.
"That guy is real fast," said Towson sophomore P.D. Moore, who has been a standout at linebacker and rover back. "We knew he'd be a threat, but everybody played together, and we were able to shut him down."
Combs, however, said the real key was keeping the ball out of the hands of Holy Cross quarterback Brian Hall, who was 16-for-28 for 138 yards. The Towson offense did so with several extended drives, including one of more than eight minutes after the second-half kickoff.
It ended with Davon Telp's 1-run touchdown plunge. Normally a cornerback, Telp scored on his first career carry to give the Tigers a 21-3 lead.
After Telp's touchdown, linebacker Neal Regan intercepted a Hall pass to give Towson possession on the Holy Cross 32. It took Tigers quarterback Jay Amer (13-for-16, 229 yards, two touchdowns) only one play to find a leaping Jamal White in the corner of the end zone.
Holy Cross (2-2, 1-1) fumbled away the ensuing kickoff and, seven plays later, Towson freshman Kerry Miles scored from 2 yards for his first career touchdown.
Towson took a 14-0 lead on second-quarter touchdowns by Matt Romeo and Jason Galloway. Romeo's 7-yard scoring run was part of a 24-carry, 106-yard performance, and Galloway's 32-yard touchdown catch was one of his seven receptions - all but one in the first half - for 97 yards.
Towson wound up with 482 yards of total offense and had offensive possession for more than 35 minutes, including 20 minutes and 13 seconds in the second half.
"We're trying to make a statement to the league," Moore said. "That Lafayette game motivated us. It showed us we have to play all out."
Next for Towson
Site:Schoellkopf Field, Ithaca, N.Y.
When:Saturday, 1 p.m.
Yesterday:Lost to Yale, 50-23