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Towson’s season could be over after dropping regular-season finale to Elon, 25-23

Towson's Tom Flacco looks for a target during the Tigers' regular-season finale setback to Elon at Johnny Unitas Stadium on Saturday.
Towson's Tom Flacco looks for a target during the Tigers' regular-season finale setback to Elon at Johnny Unitas Stadium on Saturday. (ENP Photography/ENP Photography)

Towson came into Saturday afternoon’s game with a chance to head back to the FCS playoffs. The Tigers’ chances were thwarted by Elon, 25-23, after Towson made a number of mistakes on offense and defense.

The Tigers (7-5) will await the news Sunday to see if they have made it to the playoffs. If not, Flacco looks fondly back on his time with Towson.

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The Tigers turned the ball over four times — three of the turnovers coming from quarterback Tom Flacco. Towson’s senior quarterback fumbled the ball once and threw two interceptions in what could be the final game of his college career.

“Mentally now I’m not great,” Flacco said. “It’s a tough loss and like coach said we’re probably putting it in the hands of someone else. Eight [wins] would’ve guaranteed us to get in there, but it’s very aggravating. I’m very aggravated right now at myself and what I could’ve done better.”

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Towson also committed mistakes in coverage and containing Elon’s quarterback. At key moments, Elon quarterback Davis Cheek broke runs, his longest 21 yards.

He also dumped off passes to running back De’Sean McNair, who scored on 39-yard pass to end the third quarter. McNair finished with three receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown.

Towson coach Rob Ambrose emphasized to his players watching the quarterback and stopping short passes to the back.

“Bad eyes will get you. Bad eyes will get you,” Ambrose reiterated. “There’s somebody responsible for the back and there’s somebody responsible for the quarterback and when your eyes are in the wrong place, those guys take off running. You’re in trouble.

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“Some of our younger players got a hard, cold lesson in spy technique today and that at which we’ll probably get better.”

Flacco had his 50th touchdown in the first quarter and followed it up with his 50th touchdown pass of his career. Leatherbury caught his 12th touchdown pass of the season, tying the single-season Towson record. O’Neil converted on the 62nd, 63rd and 64th field goals of his career, giving him 12th place all-time in FCS history.

Towson and Elon traded the football back and forth in their first two possessions — with the Phoenix going three-and-out and Flacco fumbling for the Tigers. The subsequent Elon drive was stuffed on fourth-and-1 from the Towson 45. With a couple of strong runs by Adrian Feliz-Platt, Flacco capped the drive with a 6-yard pass to Leatherbury.

Flacco hit Darian Street for his second touchdown pass on a 20-yard strike. Elon kicker Skyler Davis and O’Neil traded field goals for the score to be set at 17-3 at the half.

Things went south from there for the Tigers.

Flacco was sacked for a safety by Devonte Copeland. Towson got another field goal from O’Neil, but just couldn’t find the end zone again. Elon capitalized by a 5-yard Joey Baughman touchdown pass from Kortez Weeks and then McNair’s touchdown reception, putting the score at 20-19 at the end of the third.

O’Neil managed one more field goal for Towson with Elon answering with two from Davis. Davis’ second field goal of the quarter came with just 41 seconds on the clock, leaving Towson with one more shot.

Flacco tossed a 14-yard strike to Street on the first play, then threw an incomplete pass on the second. The next play was the game-winning play for Elon, as Flacco threw his second interception to Greg Liggs with just 21 seconds left.

The Tigers (4-4 CAA) will await the news Sunday to see if they have made it to the playoffs. If not, Flacco looks fondly back on his time with Towson.

“I can’t be any more grateful for what Towson gave me,” Flacco said. “It was a long college football journey for me and I’m not happy that it ended it like this, but if it ended like this, I’m not sure what to say about that.

“Just taking a step back, what coach Ambrose and Towson did for me is unbelievable. I’ll be forever grateful. It was tough for me to take a step back right now because of how that game just ended, but I’m definitely going to be thinking about that.”

Howard 20, Morgan State 15: Quinton Williams hit Michael Cornwell on an 8-yard touchdown toss in the final seconds of the game and the host Bison then held off the Bears charge to claim a 20-15 victoryon Saturday.

Cornwell scored with 39 seconds remaining in the game. The Bears then drove to Howard's 30 with three seconds left. DeAndre Harris threw into the end zone where the ball was batted down on the final play of the game, allowing Howard to escape with just its second victory of the season.

Williams threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns and Dedrick Parson rushed for 170 yards and another score for Howard (2-10, 2-6 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference). The Bison had lost seven straight coming into the season finale for both teams.

Howard took its first lead when Williams hit Kyle Anthony from the 6 for a 14-8 advantage with 7:24 left in the third. The Bears answered to retake the lead 15-14 when E'Munn Parker ran it from the 7 with 3:16 remaining in the game.

The Bears (3-9, 2-6) were led by Harris who threw for 245 yards and one touchdown. Wesley Wolfolk hauled in four passes for 116 yards and a score.

Johns Hopkins 51, Stevenson 28: Danny Wolf tied the school scoring record for rushing touchdowns in a game with four and the visiting Blue Jays (8-3) took an early 17-point lead and beat the Mustangs (8-3) in the Centennial-MAC Bowl Series. MVP David Tammaro went 22-for-33 for 282 yards and three touchdown passes for Hopkins. The Blue Jays have won eight or more games for the 12th season in a row. Ryan Sedgwick (Arundel) went 29-for-44 for 382 yards, two touchdown passes and two interceptions for Stevenson.

Salisbury 83, Maritime (N.Y.) 0: Mike-Ryan Mofor had nine carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns and Jack Lanham had six carries for 47 yars and three touchdowns as the host Sea Gulls (10-0) shut out the Privateers (5-6) in an NCAA Division III first round game. Salisbury’s defense, led by Patrick Bernardo and Casey Counts with seven tackles each, limited Maritime to 71 yards of total offense. Salisbury racked up 583 yards of total offense. The Sea Gulls led 42-0 in the first quarter.

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