The Baltimore native and Northwestern graduate disputed the report, which originated from a website called Campus SportsNet.
“I didn’t say it,” West said after the team had finished a news conference at the stadium. “I hate words being put in my mouth. I hate that. It’s wrong. No one should do that to anyone. So yes, I’m angry.”
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West, who has already set FCS records for rushing yards in a single season (2,410) and total touchdowns (41), has drawn attention from NFL analysts for his speed, power and vision. West repeated his previous stance that he will make a decision on his future after the season when he can consult with his family and Ambrose, but said his mind is set on helping the No. 7 seed Tigers (13-2) defeat the No. 1 seed and back-to-back reigning national champion Bison (14-0) and capture the university’s first Division I title in any sport.
“You’ve heard me say that at the end of the season, I’ll make my decision,” he said. “Right now, it’s just about winning the national championship. I don’t know where that came from.”
Towson coach Rob Ambrose took aim at the website for publishing the report without identifying a source or including a quote.
“It bothers me in the fact that somebody calls that journalism,” he said. “There are no facts, there are no quotes, but somebody feels that it’s OK to post that. Terrance and I have lived on the same mantra since the beginning of the season of, ‘Am I going to be here? Is he going to be here?’ Those are conversations for when we’re done playing football, and we’re not done yet. Terrance is the same way. It’s not even a thought. We have a team, we have a game, and our goal is to win the national championship. We’re not there yet. Trust me, I guarantee there will be a conversation when the game is over, but not today.”
The news trickled down to North Dakota State senior defensive end Cole Jirik, who mentioned the report during his team’s press conference preceding the Tigers’ session. But Jirki denied that the defense would use that as motivation on Saturday.
“It doesn’t matter where he goes at the end of the year,” Jirik said. “We’ve got to stop him in this game. We just know he’s a really good running back, and we’ve got to stop him. It doesn’t matter if he’s leaving for the draft or not.”Players abstain from photo opp with trophy
During a luncheon on Friday that included members of both teams, the Towson players declined to pose for pictures with the national championship trophy.
And Towson linebacker Monte Gaddis noticed that several North Dakota State players did not do the same.
“I guess we’re just going to pose with it after the game,” he said. “That’s more motivation for us. They were posing with it acting like they already won it. We’re just going to take it as motivation for the game.”
While saying that he had no qualms with the Bison players’ actions, Ambrose said he appreciated the Tigers’ decision.
“There is a mentality that these guys have figured out that is going to carry them through life in that whatever they get, they’ve earned,” he said. “While this may be an everybody-gets-a-trophy generation, this is not an everybody-gets-a-trophy team. They know that the only reason they’re going to pose with that trophy is because they’ve won it, and they haven’t done it yet. … It’s not even a thought.”
Odds and ends
Ambrose declared fifth-year senior quarterback Peter Athens healthy enough to start Saturday despite a sprained right (throwing) shoulder that forced him to sit out the second half of the team’s semifinal win at Eastern Washington. “Percentage-wise on where he would be, he’s as close to perfect as he can get,” Ambrose said. “He’s the starter, and I have no question about his ability to play tomorrow. More importantly, he doesn’t have any question about his ability to play.” … Three teams from the Colonial Athletic Association won the NCAA title in their first championship final appearance. They are James Madison in 2004, Richmond in 2008 and Villanova in 2009. Could Towson be the fourth? “Somebody told me that the team that won bowling thing last night is the team that wins the national championship, so sure,” Ambrose said. “If that ties itself together, I’m in. In the end, it’s going to be the 11 versus the 11 on the field and the team that plays the best most consistently and makes the least amount of mistakes and doesn’t turn the ball over.”