There were several plays and non-plays that contributed to the No. 7 Towson football team's 32-31 loss to No. 21 Delaware on Saturday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Coach Rob Ambrose took time during his Monday morning conference call to explain the reasoning behind one sequence.
Leading, 31-17, the Tigers (8-2 overall and 4-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association) drove to the Blue Hens' 19-yard line. Facing fourth-and-2, Towson elected to go for a first down rather than send out senior Drew Evangelista for what would have been a 37-yard field-goal attempt.
But freshman running back Darius Victor was stopped for a loss of 1yard with 4:23 left in the fourth quarter. While acknowledging that an injury to starting sophomore long snapper Jake Schunke factored into the decision to go for it, Ambrose said he wanted to maintain possession and keep Delaware's offense on the sideline.
"I thought the only way that Delaware was really going to get in this was if there was a massive momentum change and a blocked kick was one that was a consideration," he said. "And as well as we were running the ball up front, I didn't have any doubt that we could get a yard-and-a-half at that time -- especially after we had run the ball as well as we had getting there. So it was better to keep running it and try to score again while the clock would still be running and keep the ball out of their hands and go. Thirty-eight points would have sounded really nice."
The Blue Hens turned that stop on fourth down into a touchdown drive that cut the deficit to 31-24, and then they recovered an onside kick and needed just three plays to gain 61 yards and add a touchdown and a two-point conversion to clinch the victory.
Ambrose said he had no regrets about taking the risk of going for it on fourth down.
"You can always second-guess yourself, but when you're up two scores with somewhere around four minutes left to go in the game and you felt like you've controlled the second half a good bit and your last series defensively was pretty good, I can second-guess myself all I want," he said. "I can say that we could've put every starter in the game as humanly possible, and if one of those guys would have gotten hurt, considering what we got on the line in the future, that's a scary proposition as well. So it is what it is. You can Monday morning quarterback all you want. We didn't win the game. There's lots of choices that could've been made, lots of plays that could've been made that didn't get made. They just didn't happen. The bigger thing is, now that is what existence is, we need to regroup as a team. We need to heal, rest, get refocused, get back to business."