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Despite first shutout in 10 years, Towson football feels it can play better

Minutes after Towson recorded its first shutout in 10 years with a 19-0 pasting Saturday of Colonial Athletic Association foe Delaware at Johnny Unitas Stadium, Donnell Lewis wasn't overly enthusiastic about the defense's performance.

"We still had a couple mistakes, but we feel like we can always get better," the senior strong safety said. "There's always more."

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It's difficult to see what more the Tigers (5-3, 3-2) could have done. They blanked an opponent for the first time since Sept. 10, 2005 — a 70-0 win over Division II Lock Haven — and the Blue Hens' 102 total yards of offense were the fewest Towson had surrendered to a Football Championship Subdivision opponent since joining the FCS in 1987.

Delaware (3-5, 2-3) had just six first downs and 14 passing yards. But Lewis' claim had support from his head coach, Rob Ambrose, who offered that the defense might have played better in a 21-14 win at Stony Brook on Oct. 17.

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"Statistically, I'm sure everybody's going to say that [Saturday was the defense's best showing] because it was a shutout. I don't know," Ambrose said. "Stony Brook, that was pretty impressive in a much more difficult place to play. Playing against Delaware here, we had the home-field advantage. There was a little bit of chippiness coming out of that crew, and our guys didn't like that very much. Is this the best we've played all year? I don't know. We played pretty good. Ask me at the end of the season."

The team's three-game winning streak has coincided with some personnel changes made in that victory over that Seawolves. Since inserting freshman inside linebackers Chris Tedder and Diondre Wallace and redshirt freshman free safety Monty Fenner into the starting lineup against Stony Brook, the defense has surrendered an average of 11.7 points, 249.0 yards and 15.7 first downs per game.

The unit also has six takeaways in the three victories, and Lewis said the younger players are developing chemistry with the older veterans.

"I feel like we're starting to come together," he said. "Everybody's starting to know their roles. Everybody wants to win."

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