Scouting report: No. 17 Towson vs. Rhode Island

No. 17 Towson (5-4, 4-2 CAA) vs. Rhode Island (0-9, 0-6 CAA)

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Site: Johnny Unitas Stadium


Series: Tied at 6-6

What's at stake: After pulling off "must-win" games against two ranked opponents on the road, Towson is back in the running to defend its CAA championship and return to the playoffs. The Tigers sit behind James Madison (5-1, 3-0 CAA) and New Hampshire (6-1, 3-0 CAA) in the standings. Towson will play New Hampshire in the final game of the regular season in what could be for the conference championship — if the Tigers get a little help in the form of a James Madison loss. Before any of that, the Tigers need to beat the winless Rams (0-9, 0-6 CAA). But after emotional wins over Delaware and Villanova and potentially the biggest game of the season looming ahead, Saturday's game is a textbook letdown game. Handling business Saturday sets up a climactic finish for Towson's late-season turnaround and a wild weekend in the CAA.

Key matchup: Towson has a substantial advantage in virtually every category against the Rams, except one: turnover margin. Entering Saturday, URI ranks tenth in TO margin with -1.11. Towson is slightly ahead at ninth with -0.89. If the Tigers don't come out as sharp as they have been the past two weeks (only one TO) and turn the ball over multiple times against a winless team desperate for a win, then Towson might find itself in a close game.

Player to watch: Towson's Towson needs a big game from its most consistent offensive weapon in sophomore RB Terrance West (Northwestern). This weekend, the All-American will line up against the second-most porous rushing defense in the CAA (216.1 ypg). The Rams have given up 26 rushing touchdowns and allowed opposing backs 5.5 yards per carry this season, both worst in the conference. In Towson's do-or-die games over the past two weeks, West has been as good as ever, rushing for 144 and two TDs against Villanova and 113 and another two scores last Saturday.

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