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Villanova football vs. Towson preview: Q&A with Jordan Cope of the Towerlight

Both teams recovered from losses at FBS opponents last weekend, both need a win

James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Last year the Towson Tigers went 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the CAA for a share of fourth place in the league and out of the playoffs. They defeated the then 23rd-ranked Wildcats at Unitas Stadium 28-21 during last season's campaign. This season, they opened with a 56-20 loss at the University of South Florida before rebounding at home against Saint Francis, 35-28.

To get caught up on what the Tigers have been up to this season, we reached out to Jordan Cope, a writer for the Towerlight, Towson's student newspaper.

1. The Tigers used two quarterbacks last week, Ellis Knudson and Morgan Mahalak. Knudson got a lot of action with Mahalak seen in a sling. What happened to Mahalak, and what is his status this weekend?

Mahalak has a shoulder injury. He won't be able to play this week, next week is a bye week for Towson so Head Coach Rob Ambrose will know a little bit more about it then. Ellis Knudson will make his first career start for the Tigers Saturday.
2. Last week, SFU scored 28 points in the first half, including 21 in the second quarter, but were held scoreless after the break. What changed in the second half to allow Towson's defense to lock down?
In the second half of last week's game against Saint Francis, the defense stepped up. The defensive front had been handling the running game all evening but what really made a difference was that they started to put pressure on Red Flash quarterback Zack Dreyer and the secondary tightened up to prevent big plays.
3. Christian Summers was a huge factor for the Tigers last weekend, will Towson be relying on him as their playmaker on offense? Is it a bad idea to plan to stop the run against these guys?
Towson has a multitude of weapons on the offensive side of the football. If Villanova comes in looking to stop Darius Victor and the running game, then wide receivers Christian Summers and Andre Dessenberg could make it a long afternoon for the Villanova secondary.
4. Rob Ambrose has really turned the Towson program around in short order from a low point when he took over. How important has he been to the program, and is there any fear around campus that he could leave for a bigger job?
Rob Ambrose has been a huge part in turning the Towson football program around. He has created a culture and expectation to produce a winning football team. Personally, I don't think there is much of a fear of Ambrose leaving Towson for a bigger job anytime soon. After his trip to the FCS Championship game, there were rumors floating around that he may take over as Head Coach of the UConn Huskies where he used to be the quarterbacks coach. However, he has since signed a contract through 2020 at Towson, is an alumni of the school and has young kids that he would like to put through school in the area. I don't see Ambrose leaving Towson anytime soon.
5. Coach Ambrose talked once about a key moment in his turnaround of the program being a really bad loss to Villanova. The next year, Towson steamrolled the 'Cats in Maryland, signaling that they were back. Is there any added significance to this match-up for Towson fans?
No, I don't think there is any added significance to this game for Towson fans. Being just fifty minutes up the road from Delaware, the Tigers and the Blue Hens are big rivals. Don't get me wrong though, Ambrose will have the team fired up `and ready to play come Saturday.