Towson football can't hold 10-point halftime lead, falls to Stony Brook, 27-20

For The Baltimore Sun
The Tigers couldn't stop Stony Brook's Stacey Bedell, and were outscored 20-3 in the second half.

Towson football coach Rob Ambrose says his young team sometimes gives him a few gray hairs. Unfortunately for him, Saturday night was one of those nights.

The Tigers (4-1, 0-3) gave up 244 yards in the second half and blew a 10-point halftime lead before falling to visiting Stony Brook (3-2, 2-0), 27-20, in a Colonial Athletic Association game at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Stony Brook's Stacey Bedell rushed for 127 yard on 20 carries to lead the Seawolves. Shane Simpson led Towson with 76 yards on 13 carries.

“Our ballgames always seem to be kind of interesting,” Ambrose said. “We just keep trading it back and forth. One day, one day, the home team's going to learn how to win a game.”

The game was a tale of two halves. Towson was dominant in the first half – and particularly in the second quarter – while Stony Brook dominated the second half.

“We got outcoached. That's on me,” Ambrose said. “They put some formations out there that we were ready for, that we didn't adjust well to, and they kept us off-balance. That's good coaching by them.”

Stony Brook got on the board first on a long drive in the middle of the first quarter. After the Seawolves took over at their own 23-yard line on an interception by Tyrice Beverette, Stony Brook used an 11-play drive capped by a three-yard touchdown run by Bedell to take the lead with 4:22 left in the first quarter. The biggest play of the drive came on a third and four from the Towson 18, when Bedell ran off-tackle for a 15-yard gain to keep the drive alive.

The Tigers wasted little time responding. After a great return, Towson used a six-play, 61-yard drive to tie the score at 7 with 1:20 left in the quarter. Following runs of 23 and 17 yards from Deshaun Wethington, quarterback Ellis Knudson found Andre Dessenberg on a sideline route from 14 yards out for a touchdown.

The teams traded possessions before Towson put together a scoring drive early in the third quarter to take the lead. The drive was highlighted by a 36-yard pass to Christian Summers followed on the next play by a 24-yard reception by Sam Gallahan. But the drive stalled at the Towson 6, and the Tigers settled for a 23-yard field goal by Aidan O'Neill to take a 10-7 lead with 7:32 left in the half.

The Tigers added to their lead just before halftime. Towson forced a Seawolves punt, and the Tigers strung together an 8-play, 66-yard drive, capped by a pass from Knudson to Tanner Vallely with 1:15 left in the half.

Towson dominated the second quarter, outgaining the Seawolves 145-30 in the quarter.

Stony Brook cut into the lead on its second possession of the second quarter, putting together an 8-play,91-yard drive. The Seawolves scored on a 12-yard run up the middle from quarterback Joe Carbone to cut the lead to 17-14 with 8:33 left in the third quarter.

The Seawolves took the lead on the second play of the fourth quarter. Jordan Gowins capped a 13-play, 87-yard drive with a 1-yard run to give Stony Brook a 20-17 lead with 14:38 left in the quarter. He had picked up 20 on a 3rd-and-four at the Towson 21 on the previous play.

The Seawolves put the game away when Bedell scored on a 23-yard run down the sideline to make the score 27-17 with 5:50 remaining. The play was set up by interception by Jaheem Woods at the Towson 25.

Towson cut the margin to 27-20 when O'Neill hit a 27-yard field goal with 3:44 left.

The Tigers got another chance when, after the field goal, Stony Brook returner Sherman Alston Jr. fumbled at the Stony Brook 28. But Towson could only gain one yard before turning the ball over on downs with 1:34 left. The Seawolves ran out the clock from there.

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