Tigers QB shines, but defense lax

The Baltimore Sun

If football is a game of contrasts, then the Towson Tigers are just a little lopsided at the moment. Towson quarterback Sean Schaefer had another big day, but the defense didn't in a 35-17 loss to visiting Northeastern at Johnny Unitas Stadium in a Colonial Athletic Association game.

As Schaefer was enjoying his 11th 300-yard passing game with 358 yards, the Towson defense gave up 28 consecutive points in the last three quarters while the Tigers' offense was held scoreless.

Schaefer played his best in the first half, when he completed 17 of 22 passes and amassed 209 yards. Meanwhile, the Towson defense allowed a 100-yard rusher (Alex Broomfield, who finished with 102) and a 100-yard receiver (Chris Plum, who finished with 109) while giving up three touchdowns through the air and 415 yards in the game.

Northeastern quarterback Anthony Orio turned a 17-14 Towson halftime lead into another frustrating loss for the Tigers (2-4, 0-2).

"It was a tale of two halves," Towson coach Gordy Combs said. "We moved the ball well [in the first half], but we had some breakdowns. We knew what they were trying to do, but we just didn't stop it."

Schaefer, who moved into second place all time on the CAA passing completions list with 880, was harassed most of the second half by the Huskies (2-3, 1-0).

In the beginning, it looked like Towson's day. After trailing 7-0, the Tigers got on the board when Schaefer called his own number. Dropping back at the Northeastern 13, the quarterback found no one open and ran down the middle of the field before being hit at the goal line and leaping a tackler. Towson put together another impressive drive to march 49 yards before stalling. Mark Bencivengo extended the lead to 10-7 when he connected on a 41-yard field goal (his career long) with 12:51 left in the second quarter.

The Tigers added to the lead with 6:39 left when Matt Castor scored on a 2-yard run to go up 17-7. From that point on, it was all Northeastern.

The Huskies cut the lead to 17-14 when Orio found Plum on a 24-yard pass with 1:55 left in the half and took the lead on their first possession of the second half. Orio hit Plum from 30 yards out with 8:09 left in the third to give the Huskies a 21-17 lead.

Northeastern used a trick play to add to its lead.

"That gadget play really hurt," said Towson safety Drew Mack, who led all tacklers with 14. "We knew it was coming, and we prepared for it all week. We have to make that play, and we didn't."



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