FCS playoffs: It's Lehigh's passing vs. Towson's rushing
The Sports Network
By Sean Shapiro, FCS Assistant
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 3rd, 3:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Minnegan Field at Johnny Unitas Stadium (11,198) -- Towson, Maryland. Surface: FieldTurf. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Lehigh 5-1; Towson 5-1. Away Record: Lehigh 5-0; Towson 4-1. Series Record: Lehigh (10-1). Last Meeting: November 1, 2003 (Lehigh def. Towson, 35-3 at Lehigh). Series Streak: Lehigh has won 10 of the 11 meetings. Conference: Lehigh - Patriot League; Towson - Colonial Athletic Association. Nicknames: Lehigh Mountain Hawks; Towson Tigers. Sports Network/Fathead.com Ranking: Lehigh (6); Towson (8). NCAA Playoffs Seedings: Lehigh (NS); Towson (NS). Head Coaches: Lehigh - Andy Coen (6th Season, 40-28 at Lehigh and Overall); Towson - Rob Ambrose (4th Season, 12-21 at Towson, 15-28 Overall). All-Time Record: Lehigh (649-566-46); Towson (232-216-4). Playoff Records: Lehigh (5-8 and 8-10 overall); Towson (0-0). Previous FCS Playoff Appearances: Lehigh 8 (1979-80, 98-99, 2000-01, 2004, 2010); Towson 0.
GAME NOTES: Towson completed the FCS' most impressive turnaround this season, winning the CAA with a 9-2 record after winning just three games combined in Rob Ambrose's first two seasons. Saturday, the Tigers could continue the dream turnaround with a playoff victory in their FCS postseason debut.
While it is a battle of offensive-oriented teams, two contrasting philosophies will be on display. With quarterback Chris Lum leading the way, Lehigh has the fourth-ranked passing offense in the country (342.4 ypg). With two receivers ranked in the top 11 for receptions (Ryan Spadola and Jake Drwal) at his disposal, Lum has passed for 3,739 yards and 31 touchdowns.
For Towson, freshman running back Terrance West is the stalwart, leading the nation in rushing touchdowns with 27, including multi-touchdown efforts in all but one game he's played.
On defense, the Tigers have been a bend-but-don't-break unit, allowing 359.6 yards per game, while yielding 24.7 points per contest. Towson has put together a trio of three-game winning streaks, but haven't been able to extend it to four games. A win against Lehigh would give Towson its first four-game winning streak since 2006.
Lehigh lost to New Hampshire, 48-41, in Week 2, a game that could serve as a blueprint for the game with Towson. In that game, both teams traded scores, before New Hampshire prevailed in overtime.
On Saturday, both offenses will come ready to play. Which defense can make the last stop may be the difference.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Towson 44, Lehigh 41
11/30 12:34:01 ET