Local college football previews: No. 20 Towson travels to No. 7 Elon; Morgan State hosts Delaware State

NO. 20 TOWSON (6-3, 4-2 Colonial Athletic Association) @ NO. 7 ELON (6-2, 4-1)

When: Saturday, noon

Site: Rhodes Stadium

Video: Phoenix All-Access

Radio: CBS Sports Radio 1300 AM

Series: Towson leads, 5-2

What’s at stake: That 35-28 loss to then-No.23 Maine on Saturday dropped Towson from No. 15 to No. 20 in the latest STATS Football Championship Subdivision poll and saddled the team with its first losing streak of the year. But more importantly, the Tigers slid from a four-way tie atop the CAA to a three-way tie for fourth with No. 9 James Madison (6-3, 4-2) and No. 12 Stony Brook (6-3, 4-2). Towson’s bid to remain in the race for the conference title and a spot in the FCS postseason will depend on how the team fares against Elon and the Dukes on Nov. 17. The Phoenix have won two straight games.

Key matchup: Elon leads the CAA in rushing offense at 222.9 yards per game and 19 touchdown runs, and the catalyst for that unit is running back Jaylan Thomas. The freshman gained a career-high 222 yards and one score in the Phoenix’s 24-21 win against Rhode Island on Saturday en route to being named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week. Towson, which ranks ninth against the run at 151.3 yards per game, surrendered 121 yards and three touchdowns to Maine redshirt freshman Ramon Jefferson.

Player to watch: Elon’s defense is anchored by senior linebacker Warren Messer, who was named STATS FCS National Defensive Player of the Week. He racked up a team-best 14 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss, two sacks and one interception against Rhode Island. Messer’s 86-yard interception return for a touchdown was the second-longest in program history.

DELAWARE STATE (2-7, 2-4 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) @ MORGAN STATE (2-7, 1-4)

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Site: Hughes Stadium

Video: SPORTSfever Television Network

Radio: WEAA 88.9 FM

Series: Morgan State leads, 35-27

What’s at stake: Morgan State is dealing with its second three-game losing skid of the season after falling short of completing a fourth-quarter rally in a 30-28 loss to Bethune-Cookman on Saturday. The Bears will try to avoid a four-game losing streak for the third year in a row against a Delaware State team that has won two consecutive games after opening the season with seven straight losses. The Hornets have not strung together three consecutive victories since the 2012 squad won four straight. History might be on Morgan State’s side though as the Bears have won eight of the past 10 meetings, including seven in a row.

Key matchup: Delaware State ranks second in the MEAC in rushing at 188.4 yards per game despite not really boasting a standout performer. Senior running back Brycen Alleyne leads the offense with 487 yards and three touchdowns and is one of six players who have crossed the 100-yard mark for the season. Morgan State gave up 208 yards and three scores on runs of 65, 61 and 60 yards to Bethune-Cookman senior wide receiver Jimmie Robinson on Saturday.

Player to watch: Delaware State junior defensive back Jahad Neibauer was named the MEAC’s Co-Defensive Player of the Week after finishing with five tackles, one interception and one sack for a safety in Saturday’s 25-6 victory over Savannah State. And sophomore linebacker Brian Cavicante leads the conference with 8.6 tackles per game.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

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