Tyrrell Pigrome made sure his homecoming was an enjoyable one.
In his first game in the state of Maryland since he transferred away from the Terps after the 2019 season, Pigrome, now a graduate student quarterback at Towson, powered the Tigers to a 29-21 victory Saturday night over visiting Morgan State before an announced 9,784 at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
The Tigers improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2019 and extended their winning streak against the Bears to five in a row in their series called the Battle for Greater Baltimore. Pigrome, who spent time at Western Kentucky and Ole Miss, started slow Saturday, but heated up at the right time. With Towson trailing 14-13 at halftime, Pigrome connected with graduate student wide receiver Darian Street on touchdowns of 20 and 28 yards on back-to-back possessions to give the Tigers a 26-21 lead with 1:01 left in the third quarter.
On the offense’s first series of the fourth quarter, Pigrome directed a 14-play, 51-yard drive that led to a 28-yard field goal by sophomore Keegan Vaughan for a 29-21 advantage with 6:31 remaining. Perhaps just as importantly, the drive consumed 7:26 on the clock, and Morgan State’s final possession stalled at Towson’s 26.
For the game, Pigrome completed 14 of 25 passes for 157 yards and three touchdowns, including a 19-yard strike to redshirt freshman wide receiver Isaiah Perkins, a Laurel resident and Pallotti graduate, in the second quarter.
Pigrome was just as effective on the ground, rushing 19 times for a team-high 124 yards. Many of his runs were scrambles during which he evaded pressure and took advantage of Bears defenders who failed to contain him in the pocket.
Pigrome declined to accept credit for his performance.
“I can’t do anything with the ball until it gets snapped from the line upfront,” he said. “I can’t run the ball unless they block on the outside perimeter. I can’t throw the ball until they block and catch the ball, too. It’s a team effort thing all the time, every time.”
Coach Rob Ambrose compared Pigrome’s ability to create in and out of the pocket with former quarterback Tom Flacco, the younger brother of former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
“You put the ball in their hands, and then you put them in positions to be successful per their skill set,” he said. “He and the offensive staff are working week to week because we don’t know him that well. We’re taking what we think we know and what he thinks he knows, and we’re trying to meld the two. We’re trying to do five years’ worth of work in five weeks, and we’re getting better at it every week. We’re not where we need to be, but I think we will be in the future.”
Street’s only catches were the touchdowns for a combined 48 yards. Perkins had two receptions for 24 yards and the one score, and junior running back Devin Matthews carried the ball 11 times for 54 yards.
The Towson defense was anchored by redshirt freshman inside linebacker Mason Woods, who compiled six tackles, one sack, one interception and one pass breakup. Graduate student inside linebacker Ryan Kearney finished with seven tackles, one quarterback hurry and one pass breakup, and redshirt senior defensive end Jesus Gibbs added five tackles, one sack and two quarterback hurries.
The Tigers outscored Morgan State 16-7 in the second half and ran 38 plays versus the Bears’ 19 over the last two quarters.
“Second half, it was just a different kind of drive,” Woods said. “The offense started putting points on the board, and we just felt like it was our job to make things happen and give the offense the ball to put more points on the board.”
Morgan State was led offensively by sophomore running back Alonzo Graham. The Baltimore resident and Dunbar graduate rushed 17 times for 89 yards and one touchdown and caught one pass for an 18-yard score.
Graduate student quarterback Carson Baker went 10-for-24 for 152 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and sophomore wide receiver Andre Crawley had four receptions for 63 yards. Junior outside linebacker Lawrence Richardson racked up a game-high 13 tackles, including two for loss, and a forced fumble.
First-year Bears coach Damon Wilson said the defense was fully aware of Pigrome’s dual-threat versatility.
“That’s who he is,” Wilson said. “I think we did a decent job with regards to our pass coverage, but once he started scrambling around and chucking the ball downfield, they had an opportunity to make some plays. We were trying to make them one-dimensional, and we didn’t want him to beat us with his legs, but he made plays through the air and on the ground.”
After failing to get any points on offense in a 59-7 loss at Georgia Southern on Sept. 3, Morgan State capitalized on the opening possession of the game. The offense marched 68 yards on seven plays and capped the drive with a 16-yard touchdown scamper off left tackle by Graham with 11:20 left in the first quarter.
The series was aided by a holding penalty on Towson graduate student outside linebacker Jamal Gay that negated a sack, strip and fumble recovery by redshirt senior defensive end Bryce Lauer that would have given the Tigers the ball at their own 33-yard line.
Later in the period, Towson went 74 yards on 13 plays, but stalled at the Bears’ 7. The team settled for a 24-yard field goal by Vaughan that trimmed the deficit to 7-3 with 3:23 remaining.
In the second quarter, the Tigers got a lift from their defense. Graduate student defensive end Damir Faison tipped a pass from Baker at the line of scrimmage, and Woods came down with the interception at Towson’s 49.
Six plays later, Pigrome hit Perkins in the right flat to complete a 19-yard touchdown that gave the Tigers a 10-7 lead with 7:53 left.
The Bears, however, responded with Baker completing 3-of-4 passes for 52 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown strike to senior wide receiver Avery Jones running a go route down the right sideline. That score gave Morgan State a 14-10 lead with 4:55 remaining.
With the Bears kicking off from their own 15 due to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on sophomore wide receiver Tyler Wilkins, Towson graduate student Juwan Burgess returned the kick 60 yards to Morgan State’s 18. But the offense lost two yards on three plays and opted for a 37-yard field goal from Vaughan with 3:49 left.
Saturday, 1 p.m.
SACRED HEART@MORGAN STATE
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