A year after making it all the way to Frisco, the Towson Tigers are struggling mightily to regain even a little bit of the form that made them the 2013 National Runners-Up. They're in the midst of a 4-5 campaign where the wins aren't very convincing and the losses have been of the beatdown variety.
Long story short, these guys are exactly what the doctor ordered for a Villanova team that was humbled this past weekend by Richmond.
Here are three things to know about Towson:
The offensive strategy hasn't changed
Terrance West is now starring for the upstart Cleveland Browns, but his absence hasn't changed things for Rob Ambrose who still prefers to pound the rock. Darius Victor had a nice year as the backup in 2013 (6.4 ypc, 7 TDs) and he's taking full advantage of the top job in 2014.
Victor, though small in stature at 5'8", is a guy that seems to do best when getting a heavy workload. He's gone over 100 yards in 6 games this season and in 5 of those he's gotten 20+ carries.
Connor Frazier is not Peter Athens
Last year Ambrose had the perfect quarterback for his system. Peter Athens wasn't going to set the world on fire, but he could consistently burn defenses over the top when they would begin to load the box against West. Hitting 64.5% of his passes for over 3,400 yards was impressive for a run-first offense.
Athens' replacement, junior Connor Frazier, has struggled to replicate that threat. He's averaging under 130 yards/game through the air. He's more mobile on the ground than Athens was, but the 'Nova defense should be able to load up and start teeing off on the running attack fairly early.
Don't discount the revenge factor
It might be silly to think that after the season they had Towson would circle the Villanova game on their calendar. However, the 'Cats went in to their house last season for a primetime nationally televised game and beat the crap out of them. Towson proved it was a blip in the road, but that type of loss will sting anyone's pride.
And with the season they are having in 2014, I wouldn't put it past Ambrose to play up last season's defeat as he attempts to rally his team in the midst of a tough season. Hopefully Andy Talley has his team ready.