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Coach Rob Ambrose holding out hope that Towson football can qualify for FCS playoffs

Towson coach Rob Ambrose speaks to an official during a college football game against St. Francis in Towson.
Towson coach Rob Ambrose speaks to an official during a college football game against St. Francis in Towson. (Steve Ruark / For The Baltimore Sun)

Saturday's 31-17 loss to No. 7 William & Mary dropped Towson to 6-4 overall, 4-3 in the Colonial Athletic Association and made it a realistic possibility that the team will be left out of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

But coach Rob Ambrose said the Tigers still have much to play for when Rhode Island (1-9, 1-6) visits Johnny Unitas Stadium on Saturday at 2 p.m. – including a berth in the postseason.

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"First of all, when you're a football player, if you can only play one game, you play it to win," Ambrose said Monday afternoon during his weekly conference call arranged by the CAA. "Secondly, I've seen plenty of 7-4 teams get in over the years, especially a team that is two years removed from going to the national championship game.

"So, I would say that our pedigree has certainly improved to the degree that when you play in a league this good and you are challenging for those spots toward the season, maybe we deserve a look. And the other thing is, this is a team that beat us last year. This was their one win. If you have any pride at all as a football player and young man, that's going to stick in your craw for a long time. …

"We have a whole lot to play for, a whole lot to be excited about. We need to get past the William & Mary loss and get refocused on a new opponent and finish the job."

History would not appear to be on Towson's side. The last team with a 7-4 record or worse to make the FCS playoffs was 7-5 Eastern Kentucky in 2011. And the selection committee left out the 2011 Delaware squad and 2012 Tigers team with identical 7-4 marks from the postseason.

But Ambrose isn't giving up hope just yet that Towson could be invited this fall.

"Sure. Why not?" he asked. "Isn't there always hope?"

To that end, Ambrose said he isn't planning on giving younger players and backups more playing time to gauge the future.

"I consider doing whatever it is that puts us in the best position to win a football game – period," he said. "Next year is next year, this year is this year, and we've got a ball game to win, and we've got seniors to represent the right way. That's where our focus is."

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