TOWSON PREVIEW: Five Days and Counting

Hoosier Nation takes a day-by-day look at Indiana's 2010 season opening foe, Towson. Today, we look at five numbers to note about Coach Rob Ambrose's 2010 squad...

27 – times Towson's quarterbacks were intercepted a season ago, four more than any other team in the FCS. By way of comparison, only four teams in I-A had as many as 20 interceptions as a team a season ago, and no one had more than 21. The 27 interceptions was the most recorded by a FCS team in the last seven years, last exceeded in 2003 by St. Mary's (Cal.), with 28. Five of Towson's 2009 interceptions were returned for touchdowns, and all of those miscues produced a -1.45 turnover margin/game, which ranked 115th nationally.

4 – quarterbacks who appear to still be competing for the starting job this fall. Sophomore Peter Athens, senior Bart Blanchard, junior Chris Hart and sophomore Brian Potts all continue to get looks by the Towson coaching staff. An unsettled situation at quarterback is nothing new for Towson, which started four different quarterbacks a season ago. Athens is the most experienced of the bunch, having started six games a season ago. His 59-of-112 passing for 691 yards, 12 interceptions and six touchdowns, though, is hardly reason for confidence, though. Ambrose has been upbeat about the quarterbacks' play during fall camp, but it still looks like he'll be trying to pick from the best of a bad lot.

1 – game Towson has ever played against a Big Ten opponent. Towson opened the 2009 campaign against Northwestern and was promptly trounced by Coach Pat Fitzgerald's team, 47-14. Northwestern scored touchdowns on five of its six first-half drives on its way to a 37-7 halftime lead. In addition to piling up 47 points (the most scored by Northwestern in a season-opener since 1944) and 485 yards of total offense, Northwestern's defense limited Towson to just 205 total yards and only 65 yards on the ground.

23 – points/game, on average, Towson lost its contests in 2009. While Coach Rob Ambrose's team did have single-digit victories over Coastal Carolina and Rhode Island to its credit, all but one of its nine losses were by at least 20 points. In addition to the 34-point setback to Northwestern in the season opener, New Hampshire (57-7), William and Mary (31-0), Villanova (49-7) and James Madison (43-12) were among the teams that drubbed Ambrose's squad in his first season at the helm of the program. There were plenty of lowlights throughout the campaign for a team that ranked 115th out of 118 FCS (formerly I-AA) teams in scoring defense and 110th in scoring offense.

8 – seasons of starting experience in the Towson secondary. There aren't many strengths for a team that was among the worst statistically in the FCS in virtually every category a season ago, but Towson is hoping the secondary can prove to be one. Cornerbacks Jeremy Gardner and Ollie Thomas are fourth-year starters, while senior free safety Ray White has two years of starting experience to his credit. Gardner and Thomas have combined for only three career interceptions, but White totaled five on his own a season ago. Towson was a respectable 47th nationally in pass defense (185.0 yards/game), but the ranking is deceptive – Towson ranked 117th out of 118 teams in pass defense efficiency, allowing foes to complete 63.9 percent of their throws and to throw for 20 touchdowns against only six interceptions.

Coming Up
On Sunday – Five Numbers to Note
On Monday – Four Names to Know
On Tuesday – Three Big Concerns
On Wednesday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Thursday – One Bold Prediction

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