Eagles need no reminders of Towson’s No. 4 ranking
N.C. Central football players didn’t get over-the-top speeches during practice this week to remind them that one of the best teams in the Football Championship Subdivision is head to O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium today (2 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com).
No. 4 Towson (3-0) has a running back in Terrance West who scored five touchdowns against Delaware State a week ago, and NCCU’s offense will have to deal with a Tigers defense that is No. 1 in the nation at getting stops in the red zone.
So there’s no need for grandiose pep talks, NCCU interim coach Dwayne Foster said.
“It’s no secret that they’re the No. 4 team in the country,” Foster said. “That’s not a secret, so whether I say it or not, they’re certainly aware of it and aware that it’s a good football team just by looking at the film.
“We’re not screaming and hollering about it. It’s a huge game. It’s not a secret, so our guys know. Our guys know that this is a big game.”
The mobility of NCCU quarterback Jordan Reid should offer a wrinkle for Towson. The redshirt senior is willing to tuck the ball and run it in a heartbeat, but he has a nice arm that could turn into a weapon if production from his running backs can soften a Towson defense that is fifth in the nation against the run.
But the main idea for NCCU (2-1) is sustaining a smart, physical brand of football for four quarters, Foster said.
“We learned that we can have success by being consistent,” Foster said.
Foster also said that the Eagles must finish drives and not squander touchdowns in the red zone, where the Tigers are so tough.
A week ago during a 40-13 win at Charlotte, the Eagles were in the red zone six times and got three touchdowns and a field goal out of those opportunities. In other words, NCCU came away with points four out of the six times that it was 20 yards away from the end zone, yet Foster wasn’t satisfied.
“We still had two fumbles in the red zone,” Foster said. “We still have to fix that. We have to get that better. Why can’t we be No. 1 nationally (in the red zone), if that’s the case?”
Charlotte recovered all three of NCCU’s fumbles, and Foster wasn’t at all fond of the seven penalties that cost the Eagles 38 yards. The amount of penalty yards didn’t bother Foster as much as the fact that the infractions point toward a lack of focus that could be devastating at inopportune times.
“Try to be as flawless as we can possibly be,” Foster said. “Penalties just hurt drives, they hurt field position.”