Sean McDonnell must be quite the film aficionado.
How else do you explain the New Hampshire coach's seemingly perfect description of Towson junior running back Terrance West's mesmerizing performance in the No. 3 Tigers' 44-28 victory over the No. 19 Wildcats at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson Saturday?
For the third time in three meetings against New Hampshire, West gashed his Colonial Athletic Association rivals for more than 200 rushing yards and multiple touchdowns. During his postgame press conference, McDonnell offered this assessment of West's production.
"It's like that movie 'Groundhog Day,'" he said. "It's the kind of thing where you feel like you're doing OK against him, and then all of a sudden, bang! That's happened in every game that we've ever played against him. He's a terrific football player. His pad lean when he runs is as good as any back this conference has had, and we've had some great ones. [Former Villanova tailback Brian] Westbrook, [former New Hampshire tailback Jerry] Azumah, [former William & Mary tailback] Jonathan Grimes, he's up there with them."
West had 28 carries for 238 yards and three touchdowns. He had five of the Tigers' longest plays from scrimmage, including a 60-yard run in the third quarter, a 50-yard scamper for a touchdown in the second and a 37-yard rush in the first.
West, a Baltimore native and Northwestern graduate, has long terrorized the Wildcats. He rushed 23 times for 261 yards and four touchdowns in a 56-42 Towson win on Nov. 12, 2011, and 19 times for 236 yards and two scores in a 64-35 rout last Nov. 17.
All three of West's 200-yard outings have come against New Hampshire, but he was at a loss for words in explaining just how.
"I don't know what it is," he said. "They're a great team. They came for us today. We just overcame and came up with the win. They're a great team, but I don't know what it is."
West may have been especially motivated after he fumbled twice in the first quarter — a pair of costly miscues the Wildcats turned into touchdowns to take a 20-3 advantage.
"They had a pretty good scheme in the first quarter," he said. "I had two costly fumbles, which gave them 14 points. But like coach [Rob] Ambrose said, the game is not won in the first quarter or the second quarter. It's all four quarters and 60 minutes. My team had my back. The defense stopped them. I gave up 14 points, and they had 20. The defense shut them down. My team had my back, and I appreciate it, and I just overcame adversity."
The scary thing for New Hampshire is that West still has one more year of eligibility and could wreak similar havoc again next fall. But West said history doesn't necessarily guarantee a certain future.
"Each year changes," he said. "You can't go off the past. You've just got to worry about the future."