The following article was previously published on The Flat Hat’s website during the week of Oct. 23. However, due to an unforeseen technological glitch, it was removed from the website for a period of time and was re-uploaded today, Nov. 8.
Saturday, Oct. 21, no. 13 William and Mary football (4-3, 2-2 CAA) lost to Towson (3-4, 2-2 CAA) 34-24 in its annual Homecoming game at Walter J. Zable Stadium in Williamsburg, Va.
This defeat marks the Tribe’s third consecutive loss after dropping back- to-back away games to Elon and Virginia. With a historic 13,713 fans in attendance, William and Mary was unable to snap its losing streak, despite a significant first-half lead.
The Tribe elected to receive the ball to start the game and began its first drive with a strong 22-yard return by junior wide receiver JT Mayo. Junior quarterback Darius Wilson connected with junior slash quarterback Hollis Mathis for a 12-yard reception to put the ball at the William and Mary 35 yard-line for a first down.
Wilson had lackluster passing performances in the team’s previous two losses, recording only 36 and 72 passing yards against Elon and Virginia, respectively.
After the reception, William and Mary returned to the run game. Still without senior running back Bronson Yoder, the team continued to heavily rely on junior running back Malachi Imoh and sophomore running back Martin Lucas to get more touches on the ball.
After a combination of runs from Imoh, Lucas, Mathis and Wilson, the Tribe found itself on the Towson 18 yard-line in a fourth and two situation, thus sending on senior kicker Caden Bonoffski to kick the field goal. Bonoffski’s kick put the first points on the board of both teams, giving the Tribe a 3-0 lead with six minutes, 34 seconds left in the first quarter.
Towson looked to respond with a drive of its own, but found little success against the steadfast Tribe defense, going three- and-out and forced to punt the ball away.
Following a substantial 19 yard return by sophomore cornerback Jalen Jones to the Towson 44 yard-line, William and Mary was eager to score more points.
This drive by the Tribe was spearheaded by Lucas with three consecutive positive yard rushes for six, 19 and 10 yards apiece, putting the Tribe at the Towson nine yard-line. Mathis continued Lucas’ hard work with an eight yard rush of his own, coming up just short of a touchdown at the one yard-line. Lucas finished the drive he started with a one yard rushing touchdown. Bonoffski converted the extra point, extending the William and Mary lead to 10-0 with two minutes, 12 seconds left in the first quarter.
On Towson’s next drive, the Tigers offense looked primed to fire back with redshirt junior quarterback Nathan Kent stringing together three consecutive pass completions. However, with an incomplete pass on a third and two situation, the Tribe forced Towson to once again punt the ball away with 14 seconds left in the first quarter.
After Jones called a fair catch, the Tribe began its third drive, starting on its own 13 yard-line. After an incompletion by Wilson, Imoh exploded for a 56 yard run to the Towson 31 yard-line for a first down. Towson was then called for an offsides penalty, giving the Tribe another five yard gain.
Wilson went to the air, connecting with Mathis for a nine yard completion to the Towson 17 yard-line. William and Mary then handed the ball to Imoh for a nine yard gain, before once again throwing to Mathis for an eight yard touchdown reception. Bonoffski converted yet again on the extra point, putting the Tribe up 17-0 with 13 minutes, 39 seconds left in the second half.
Towson’s first points of the day came from an eight play, 63 yard drive that resulted in a 28 yard field goal converted by redshirt junior Keegan Vaughan, closing the lead to 17-3.
The rest of the first half consisted of empty drives by both teams, keeping the score 17-3 in favor of the Tribe at the halfway point.
What was a phenomenal start to the game by the Tribe quickly turned into a nightmare. Towson came out of the locker room blazing, putting together an 82 yard drive consisting of 22 plays which concluded with a Kent one yard rushing touchdown. After an extra point kick converted by Vaughan, the Tribe lead was diminished to 17-10 with three minutes, 24 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Green and Gold looked to respond with a solid offensive drive of its own. However, on the kick return, Mayo fumbled the ball at the William and Mary 26 yard-line. Towson, now with great field position, capitalized on the opportunity with a mixture of runs and pass completions, resulting in a 10 yard rushing touchdown for senior running back Devin Matthews. The Vaughan extra point equalized the game at 17-17 with one minute, 21 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Tribe offense that recorded 17 first half points quickly came to a standstill, going three-and-out on its next drive resulting in an untimely punt.
Towson’s offense continued its momentum, scoring a field goal on its next drive, putting the Tigers in front 20-17.
William and Mary’s offense continued to be stagnant, once again going three-and-out and punting the ball away.
On Towson’s next drive, Matthews started off with two carries for two and five yard gains, before Kent connected with redshirt junior tight end Carter Runyon for a huge 53 yard touchdown reception. Vaughan’s extra point kick furthered Towson’s lead to 27-17, with four minutes, one second left in the fourth quarter.
The Tribe’s offensive struggles continued into its next drive with Wilson fumbling the ball and being penalized for an unsportsmanlike conduct, resulting in a Towson first down at the William and Mary 20 yard-line.
Towson’s offense did not let up, taking advantage of its stellar field position and scoring another touchdown via Kent’s passing. With the extra point, Towson now led the Tribe 34-17, with only one minute, 55 seconds left in the fourth period.
The Tribe finally found some success on offense, putting together a touchdown-scoring drive, topped off by a Wilson 18 yard passing touchdown to Mathis. However, it was far too late, as with only 47 seconds left in the game, the 34-24 lead that Towson held was too much to overcome.
Wilson recorded 129 yards through the air, completing 12 of 20 attempts and two touchdowns. He also put up 36 rushing yards on nine carries.
Mathis led in receiving yards with 66 on five catches with two touchdowns. He also rushed for 36 yards on six carries.
Imoh led in rushing with 104 yards on 13 carries, 99 of which came in the first half.
Despite first half domination by the Tribe, its second half offensive struggles and turnovers ultimately led to the Green and Gold’s defeat. Towson was able to capitalize on scoring opportunities and big plays to catapult itself to an impressive come from behind victory.
William and Mary will look to snap its three-game losing streak on Saturday, Oct. 28 against CAA foe Monmouth (3- 4, 2-2 CAA) at Walter J. Zable Stadium in Williamsburg, Va.