This is a photo of ex-Tiger Jermon Bushrod. It's not related to this at all, but it is by far the coolest picture ever taken of somebody playing for the Towson Tigers, and quite frankly, would probably be the coolest picture of someone playing for Northwestern, so I had to post it.
I mean, I'd need you to find me a person who wouldn't look awesome holding a mallet. I would look awesome holding a mallet.
Historically vs. NU: No meetings. Towson's first game in school history against an FBS opponent was last year's season opening 41-13 loss to Navy.
Overview: Towson isn't a good football team. The team went 3-9 last year. The three wins came against Morgan State, Columbia, and Rhode Island, with the Rhode Island win being their only victory against a conference opponent in a 1-7 slate. Sean Schaefer was a pretty good quarterback, throwing for 3286 yards with a 25-16 TD-INT ratio, but remember, that's against FCS competition.
So, that, minus...: A decent amount of people. Head Coach Gordy Combs was fired after his 17th season at the helm of the Tigers, and was replaced by Rob Ambrose, UConn's offensive coordinator and an ex-wide receiver for Towson. Schaefer, the QB, graduated, Matt Castor, the teams leaving rusher, left the team due to personal reasons, and the team leader in receiving touchdowns, Tommy Breaux, graduated. The Tigers are not very experience-heavy, in fact, they only have 8 seniors this season, which is a really, really, really low number.
Offense: Towson's offense, predictably, is a jumble. It's bad enough that they lose all those starters, only averaged Ambrose ran a very rush-heavy system at UConn, with Donald Brown leading the nation with over 2000 yards on the ground. Here, he might not have a choice: as of today, there's no starting QB. Blake Peterson, a 24-year old who spent two years as a missionary in Argentina, then went to the University of New Mexico, then transferred because he realized he'd never play, backed up and played in six games last year, and looked like the sure starter after spring ball, but true freshman Peter Athens has supposedly given him a run for his money. The Tigers also have Jeremy Jayne, a quarterback who transferred from Temple, providing ex-DI talent.
As noted, they don't have a returning running back, which is a problem for a fellow like Rob Ambrose. Jas Lee Rouson, who has a great name, was the second leading carrier last year, but he's injured, and it appears carries will go to either Trevor Walker or Tremayne Dameron, both of whom redshirted last year. (It should be noted that Tremayne lists his favorite author as Owen Meany, which is either a clever, hyper-literary inside joke or a sign that Tremayne isn't one for the books. These are the things you must know.) Damien Kinchen started a game last year due to injuries to the top two running backs and also could play.
If you're wondering about Towson's offensive line, they gave up six sacks... against their own defense in the spring game. That might sound reasonable, but you clearly don't know about their defense. (It's pretty bad too. I consider this a segue into the defense part of this post) I hypothesize the poor offensive linesmanship is because Chuck Taylor, a 345-pound offensive guard who started 25 games at New Mexico State before transferring, ate one or two of his platoonmates. Either that, or he provided them with his old-timey basketball shoes that he told them would help them play football, but instead made them hang out with annoying hipsters all the time and they smoked a lot of cigarettes and drank PBR and decided to quit the football team.
Chuck's shoes are good for 1930's basketball but have little traction.
(In all actuality, Taylor is supposedly a pretty good OG.)
Defense: SEGUES, HOMIE! The Towson defense allowed 35.25 points per game against atrocious opponents last year. They allowed 30 points in 12 games (the exceptions being the victories against Morgan State and Columbia) 40 points in four games, and a whopping 58 against James Madison in the season closer. However, the unit was dominant in the spring game, only allowing one touchdown, recording six sacks and an interception. The impetus behind any improvements will be defensive end Brady Smith, who transferred from Boston College, where he had started 20 games in his first two seasons, recording a sack in the ACC Championship game against Virginia Tech.
In case you're wondering what scheme the Tigers will run, the answer is... "multiple." Matt Hachmann, an ex-NU recruiting assistant and Towson's new defensive coordinator, said they simply aren't decided yet. This, friends, sounds like a team to worry about.
I have to ask, what's up with all this transferring?: Towson, as you might have noticed, has a high proportion of players who are transfers from FBS schools. Well, quite simply, it looks like Rob Ambrose has tried to corner the markets on transfers. FCS transfers are attractive to guys at FBS programs looking to play, because unlike transferring to other FBS schools, you aren't required to sit out a year, and Ambrose has capitalized on this, luring Smith and Taylor, and attempting to lure Justin Roper, a transfer QB from Oregon, who eventually decided to play for the University of Montana. As for why they're transferring, it appears many just wanted a change of scene although for the QB's, those guys needed to go some place where they could play after finding they weren't FBS talent. Smith seems to be the only notable exception, as he was good enough to play at BC, and liked it there, but was kicked out of the school because he was a tad too rapey to remain under scholarship at BC.
Transitive property logic that leads me to believe that we'll win by a lot:
9/20, 2008: Coastal Carolina, 31, Towson, 3.
8/30, 2008: No. 22 Penn State, 66, Coastal Carolina, 10.
11/8, 2008: Iowa, 24, No. 3 Penn State, 23
9/27, 2008: Northwestern, 22, Iowa, 17.
Transitive property score differential: 100.
All name team: Runners-up: The alliterative Ghanaian redshirt freshman linebacker Brian Boateng-Botwe, sophomore DT Marcus Valentine, and of course, senior LB Alex Butt. I particularly like Butt's name because it's such a great contrast between a relatively serious name in "Alex" and a very not serious one in "Butt". It's sort of like Gary Pelvis, or something.
Winner: Senior wide receiver Tamba Tongu. This is a great name. It's alliterative, and it's got a nice rhythm and a nice flow to it. It just rolls off the tongue (Tongu-e?) very nicely.
(It should be noted I'm not looking for the funniest names, just the best ones. Sometimes that means funny, but I'm looking for quality. For example if I scanned the Wildcats roster, I'd definitely pick Stone Pinckney. That's such a great name. I'd like to be named Stone Pinckney. With a name like Stone Pinckney, you could be like a congressman, senator, or golf school instructor, and on the other hand, you totally could be a fireman, news anchor, or porn star. It's a limitless name.) (What I'm trying to say is, unlike Name of the Year blog, this isn't so much an "I'm laughing at you" as it is an "I salute your wonderful name, if you'd like to come over and smoke a cigar in celebration of your wonderful name, you're free anytime. You know my number" sort of thing.)
So how does NU play em?: Just stick to our strategy. We don't need to alter our game plan. This should be like the spring game or scrimmage, just with the other team instead of our defense. Take the starters out sometime in the middle of the second quarter, and just play Northwestern football. We can save our experimenting for EMU or Miami (OH).
Prediction: Nope. Wait till Friday.