Road games are supposed to be difficult. Try telling that to the Towson football team.
The Tigers (7-1 overall and 3-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association), who moved from No. 7 to No. 8 in the Sports Network Football Championship Subdivision poll Monday, have not lost on the road since Oct. 6, 2012 when they fell to James Madison, 13-10.
Saturday’s 44-17 thumping of league foe Albany was the team’s eighth win in a row away from the friendly confines of Johnny Unitas Stadium.
Over that same span, the program is 5-2 at home, which isn’t bad. But it’s not as good as the Tigers’ record on the road.
“I’d say that it comes from just a general mentality of focusing on the things that are important to reach your goals versus focusing on things that make a lot of noise,” coach Rob Ambrose said Monday on the CAA conference call. “Our guys have become very singularly minded in what they need to do to be successful. Instead of even bringing to bear any conversation about anything that is distracting, it depends on how you see the glass as half empty or half full. We don’t pay attention to any of the distractions. It’s not even worth discussing. We just stay on track, keep the faith, stay true to each other, and keep the goal as our singular focus.”
Towson’s victory over the Great Danes was aided by a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown by sophomore Donnell Lewis in the second quarter. Lewis, who started the first two games of the season in place of senior cornerback Jordan Love, has since moved to strong safety, where he has started three of the last four games.
“One of the things that we saw in the recruiting process for him was that he was a great athlete on both sides of the ball and had tremendous ball skills,” Ambrose said. “His ability to transition from corner to safety in a very short period of time has been nothing short of amazing. While things were moving in a direction that we wanted them to in general at that point in the game, the turnover was great, but his ability to move the ball and put points on the board defensively, anytime you can get points defensively, you’ve got a big leg up.”
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Lewis also returned a fumble 43 yards for a touchdown that cemented the team’s 35-21 win against Stony Brook on Sept. 28. Lewis ranks first on defense with 13 combined pass breakups and defenses, second with two forced fumbles and tied for fourth with 43 tackles.
Ambrose credits Lewis’ background as a two-way standout at Woodside High School in Newport News, Va., for aiding him in his ability to capitalize on turnovers.
“He’s a former quarterback,” Ambrose said. “He understands the scheme of which we run and he gets better at that every week. But play by play, he sees the field in an 11-man eye. He sees everything. He just doesn’t see his keys. There are certain guys that have a tremendous nose for the ball because of their general understanding of what the offense is trying to get done, and Donnell seems to be putting himself into those positive positions based on his teaching and experience.”