UConn loses to Towson, but who is Towson?

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

A moment of appreciation for the Towson Tigers, who generally prefer lax to football, but reminded us for the eight millionth time that UConn and Paul Pasqualoni are a match made in comedy heaven.

Less than 24 hours into the college football season, two teams from the top-flight FBS, where schools are allowed 85 scholarships, pulled the impressive feat of losing to teams from the second-tier FCS, where teams are allowed just 63.

One of these was South Alabama, which is technically in its first year as a full FBS team. The newly promoted Jaguars fought hard, but fell to Southern Utah -- the southern parts of all states will rise again -- on a last-second field goal.

The other was UConn, a firmly established FBS program that recently expressed disappointment that it was passed over during the conference realignment process as other Big East teams like Louisville and Rutgers got paydays. The Huskies faced Towson, and they didn't just lose: they were taken to the house.

The Tigers won, 33-18, a two-score win on UConn's home turf. They ran for 201 yards, with Terrance West going for 156 and two touchdowns, while sacking UConn's Chandler Whitmer five times.

The obvious reaction here is to point and laugh at UConn, and for good reason. Paul Pasqualoni is an unmitigated tire fire of a head coach. He has lost games like this in the past for the Huskies -- his squads are now 10-15, with a loss to three-win South Florida last year and back-to-back losses to middling MAC squad Western Michigan in his first two years -- and he will lose them again.

But we have an entire year to laugh at UConn's misfortune. This team will lose some games by funny scores. The defense was actually pretty solid last year, but with four players drafted into the NFL, three in the first three rounds, there will be a dropoff, and the offense remains abysmal.

Meanwhile, Towson will slink away into the FCS, to play out the season in a CAA conference that's generally one of the strongest and most popular in the subdivision. But regardless, it is in the FCS and therefore in relative anonymity.

Let us take a moment to celebrate the Tigers, for bringing us college football's best medicine: laughter, peals of unbridled laughter, directed at somebody sucking furiously.

  • Towson is actually a very, very solid FCS team. It is currently ranked No. 11 in the subdivision, something that will surely change after this week. The Tigers went 7-4 last year, but two of those losses were against stout FBS teams. They lost to LSU, scoring 22 points against a Les Miles defense that only allowed 17.2 per game and lost to MAC runners-up Kent State. They ended the year ranked No. 17, but missed out on the 20-team FCS playoffs.
  • Towson is in Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. Michael Phelps is from there, and Wikipedia claims Elaine from Seinfeld is too, but, honestly, when is that ever brought up? You can tell Towson is in Maryland because its most prominent team is its lacrosse team. Starting quarterback Peter Athens played on the lax team this past year. "Crabcakes and football" is such an incredibly inaccurate assessment of the things Maryland does, although it does a perfectly good job with crabcakes.
  • Like many FCS teams, a portion of their contributors used to be FBS. Telvion Clark, who had 13 tackles and a sack, played at Virginia Tech. Sterlin Phifer, who ran for one touchdown and caught another, played at Boston College. And to add insult to UConn's injury, Leon Kinnard, who had a team-high 61 receiving yards, played at UConn.
  • Towson was known for a long time as Towson State. Since 1997, it is just Towson. Get it straight. They were also known as the Knights for a long time, but John Schuerholz, former Braves GM and 1962 alum, pushed for a name change. If only Schuerholz could convince the Braves to ditch the Native American thing and go with an ATL-appropriate name. Also, Towson just dropped Schuerholz's sport. [Edit: But not for long!]
  • Kinnard is not the only UConn snipe: there's Rob Ambrose, the Tigers' coach. He's a Towson grad, playing wide receiver for them in the early '90s, but took a gig as the Huskies' quarterbacks coach and eventually the offensive coordinator. When he was their OC, they actually had an offense, featuring Donald Brown and Dan Orlovsky. But he left in 2009 to take over his alma mater.
  • Notable Towson alumni: Stacy Keibler of WWE fame (according to the internet, she either didn't graduate or had a terrific GPA); Mike Rowe, the guy from Dirty Jobs who has been on your TV trying to sell you cars and/or jeans that he claims make his butt look good even though you have no idea who he is (he has not been on your TV on the show Dirty Jobs, since you have never watched Dirty Jobs); and comedian Amy Schumer, whose Comedy Central show I had good intentions for but dear goodness there's no way it hasn't been cancelled yet.
  • Ambrose has led Towson on a meteoric rise. The team didn't win more than three games from 2007-10, bottoming out with a 1-10 season in 2010. Its only win was in quintuple overtime against Coastal Carolina. Now, Towson has had two straight winning seasons and is now off the schneid against the FBS after losing on its first six tries.
  • Towson NFL-ers: One. Chicago's Jermon Bushrod, actually a very good left tackle. In the past the school has had three-time All-Pro running back Dave Meggett and six-time All-Pro punter Sean Landeta, who is probably still punting somewhere at the ripe young age of 51.
  • Towson's most important non-football athlete is Gary Neal, who played several years in Europe before the Spurs picked him up and everybody was like, "yo Gregg Popovich, is this 27-year-old from Towson on your roster?" and he scoffed at everybody, because everything he does always works, and then Gary Neal became great at defense and hit six threes in an NBA Finals game this year, and everybody was like, "ohhhhh." The school's second most important non-football athlete is Tamir Goodman, dubbed "the Jewish Jordan," who chose Towson over the University of Maryland because the Terps would have made him play on Shabbat. He left school after two years, though, and played professionally in Israel.
  • My relationship with Towson stems from my Northwestern sports blog. I started it in 2009, and our first game that year was against the Tigers. Northwestern won, 47-14. A reminder that they just walloped UConn. Northwestern and Towson also cross because Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium was three-time host to the women's lacrosse national championship, which Northwestern has won seven times in the past nine years. REMINDER: Maryland.

Now you know about Towson. UConn fans, I hope you read this. These are the people you just lost to, and they did it without the help of any tallit-wearing basketball players or WWE divas. Towson, we thank you. UConn, now that you're done reading, return to the corner where you can think about a) what you've done and b) Pasqualoni's severance package.

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