WILLIAMSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Towson proved once again Saturday that they are for real. The team that was picked to finish dead last in the CAA, held on to their top spot at the top of the standings, by running all over William and Mary on homecoming.
Towson was victorious at Zable Stadium 38-27, to remain undefeated in CAA play. The Tigers (6-1, 4-0) scored touchdowns on each of their first four drives and held off a late Tribe (4-4, 2-3) comeback bid to earn the victory and remain unbeaten in league action.
Senior All-American running back Jonathan Grimes led W&M with 315 all-purpose yards, marking the second-consecutive week he eclipsed the 300-yard mark. The Palmyra, N.J., native rushed for 133 yards on 30 carries with a touchdown, while piling up 145 kickoff return yards.
Sophomore quarterback Michael Graham returned after missing the past two games with illness and completed 19-of-26 passes for 227 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Senior wideout D.J. Mangas led the receiving corps with a game-high six catches for 65 yard with two touchdowns.
Towson's freshman running back Terrance West led the Tigers with 144 rushing yards on 23 carries and scored three touchdowns – all of which came in the first half.
Defensively, senior linebacker Jake Trantin totaled a game-high 10 tackles, while junior linebacker Dante Cook registered eight stops and two tackles for a loss. Junior linebacker Jabrel Mines posted seven tackles an intercepted a pass.
W&M scored on the game's opening drive when sophomore placekicker Drake Kuhn connected on a 21-yard field goal. Grimes powered the 10-play, 61-yard drive with eight carries for 57 yards.
Towson answered with a touchdown on its following possession when West scored from two yards out. TU converted a fourth-and-one at its own 45-yard line to keep the drive alive, and a 50-yard completion from quarterback Grant Enders to wideout Tom Ryan helped set up the score.
After an interception by Corey Ford gave TU starting field position at W&M's 35-yard line, Enders threw a 31-yard touchdown strike to tight end James Oboh two plays later to push the margin to 14-3 with 5:54 remaining in the first quarter.
Although Towson added another touchdown, coming on a 2-yard run by West, to go ahead 21-3, the Tribe responded with a nine-play, 58-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Graham to Mangas with 9:52 left in the opening half. Graham engineered the drive and completed 3-of-4 passes for 37 yards.
Both teams added another touchdown before halftime, as Towson scored on a 6-yard run by West, his third touchdown of the afternoon, while Grimes found the end zone on a 1-yard run with just 0:21 showing on the clock. Grimes recorded seven carries during the touchdown drive, none more important than his 2-yard rush on a fourth-and-one at the Towson 6-yard line.
Grimes had a huge first half, totaling 242 all-purpose yards in the opening 30 minutes. Much of the yardage came on the ground, as he rushed for 104 yards on 20 carries.
After both teams punted on their opening possessions of the second half, Towson increased its lead to 35-17 on a 3-yard pass from Enders to fullback Tyler Wharton with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter. The 14-play, 88-yard drive lasted more than half of the quarter (7:44) and was keyed by a fake punt near midfield when Wharton rushed for eight yards on a fourth-and-seven at the W&M 46-yard line.
W&M quickly answered on its ensuing drive and cut the margin to 35-24 on a 3-yard touchdown pass from Graham to Mangas early in the fourth quarter. Facing a third-and-goal, Mangas made the touchdown grab off ball deflected by a Towson defender in the back left corner of the end zone.
Mines intercepted Enders at Towson's 39-yard line just a few plays later, but W&M was forced to settle for a field goal when its drive stalled at the Towson 13-yard line.
Towson answered with a 19-yard field goal on its following possession to go back ahead, 38-27, with 2:04 remaining. Prior to the field goal, TU elected to go for a fourth-and-one at W&M's 3-yard line and converted when Enders earned two yards on a quarterback sneak. However, W&M kept Towson out of the end zone on the next three plays to force a field goal.
Graham quickly moved W&M down the field and inside Towson's 5-yard line on the following drive, but he was intercepted by Alexander Di Sanzo at the 3-yard line with 0:15 remaining to end the comeback bid.
Following a bye week, the Tribe will return to action when it plays at Rhode Island on Nov. 5.