Scores

Final

Towson 49

(12-2, 6-2 CAA)

E Illinois 39

(12-2, 8-0 OVC)

Coverage: ESPN2

8:00 PM ET, December 13, 2013

O'Brien Stadium, CHARLESTON, IL

1 2 3 4 T
TOWS 0 21 14 1449
EIU 14 0 10 1539

Top Performers

Passing: J. Garoppolo (EIU) - 321 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: T. West (TOWS) - 39 CAR, 354 YDS, 5 TD

Receiving: E. Lora (EIU) - 18 REC, 129 YDS, 1 TD

Towson runs by Eastern Illinois to advance to FCS semifinal

Associated Press

CHARLESTON, Ill. -- After he walked off the snow-covered field at Eastern Illinois Friday night, Towson running back Terrance West said he was pretty sure he'd never played a game quite like this one.

Snow, sleet, rain and 30-degree temperatures.

And he had no idea just how well he'd handled it.

West ran for 354 yards and five touchdowns on 39 carries, leading the Tigers (12-2) to a 49-39 win over the Panthers (12-2) and a spot in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals.

Along the way he set a new FCS playoff record for rushing yards, something he had no idea he'd done until he was asked about it after the game.

"I did?" he asked in disbelief, explaining nonetheless that he pictured himself having a big night. "If you picture big plays, you make big plays. So I was picturing."

What Eastern Illinois coach Dino Babers watched wasn't what he had in mind.

"I just thought this was the team of destiny. I really did," he said.

"I can take (West's) big plays," he added. "It's all his little plays. You hit him and he keeps moving forward."

Early in the fourth quarter, the game started to feel like it belonged to the Tigers.

They had an 11-point lead at 35-24 on West's fourth touchdown of the night, a 5-yard run that ended with a dive across the goal line.

The Towson defense had found a way to quiet Eastern Illinois' passing attack, keying on wide receiver Erik Lora and limiting him to short dinks and dunks from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

And the Panther crowd, chilled by two and a half hours in the cold, had gone quiet.

Faced with what felt like a must-score situation, though, Garoppolo led the Panthers back into the game, finding Jeff LePak wide open in the Towson end zone for a 39-yard touchdown. The junior receiver was 15 yards clear of any defender when Garoppolo spotted him and launched the ball.

Then the quarterback slipped the ball into a well-covered Lora's hands just inside the end zone for two points and, suddenly, the Panthers were back within striking distance, down 35-32 with 14:35 to play.

But after a defensive stop, West and his understudy, freshman Darius Victor, all but finished them off.

West charged down the right sideline for 37 yards to the Panther 3. Victor punched the ball into the end zone on the next play and the Tigers were in control, 42-32, with just over nine minutes to play.

Garoppolo fumbled the ball as he was sacked at his own 22 during the Panthers' next possession. He limped to the sideline and dug clumps of snow out of his face mask as the Tigers took over to polish off the game.

Garoppolo was 38-50 for 321 and two touchdowns. Lora caught 18 balls for 129 yards and a touchdown.

West's night broke a record set by Georgia Southern back Adrian Peterson -- the former Chicago Bear rather than the current Minnesota Viking -- in 1999.

He came into the game considered by some the best back in the FCS with 1,993 yards rushing and 33 touchdowns.

Early in the second quarter, he lived up to his reputation, single-handedly keeping Towson in the game.

The Panthers were up 14-0 in the first quarter on a Garoppolo-to-Lora touchdown pass and another score the quarterback ran in himself.

Then West found his footing. He burst right for 47 yards to the Panther 25. Only a tackle along the right sideline by Jourdan Wickliffe kept him out of the end zone. Then the 5-11, 220-pound West bulled past Wickliffe for a 9-yard touchdown that pulled the Tigers to within a touchdown at 14-7.

Towson tied it on a 4-yard touchdown run by Wildcat quarterback Connor Frazier, and then West delivered the lead. He cut around the left end somehow squeezed into a tiny gap between the sideline and two fast-closing defenders on his way to a 63-yard touchdown. Towson was up 21-14 at the half and never trailed again..

"Getting our footing early, it took us a while," Towson coach Rob Ambrose said. "It was getting confident."

Towson finds out Saturday who its faces in the semifinals next weekend.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
TOWS
EIU
1st Downs2628
Total Yards587511
Passing115321
Rushing472190
Penalties3-157-65
3rd Down Conversions7-118-20
4th Down Conversions0-15-6
Turnovers22
Possession30:5229:08

Passing Leaders

TowsonC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Athens8/131158.800
Eastern IllinoisC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Garoppolo38/503216.420

Rushing Leaders

TowsonCARYDSAVGTDLG
West393549.1563
Victor11807.3122
Eastern IllinoisCARYDSAVGTDLG
Duncan201005.0013
Little14584.1016

Receiving Leaders

TowsonRECYDSAVGTDLG
Oboh34113.7030
Dessenberg12929.0029
Eastern IllinoisRECYDSAVGTDLG
Lora181297.2135
LePak56713.4139

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERTOWSEIU
TD10:13Erik Lora 3 Yd Pass From Jimmy Garoppolo (Cameron Berra Kick)
Watch Highlight 
07
TD07:18Jimmy Garoppolo 6 Yd Run (Cameron Berra Kick)
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014
SECOND QUARTERTOWSEIU
TD12:40Terrance West 9 Yd Run (Drew Evangelista Kick)
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714
TD06:21Connor Frazier 4 Yd Run (Drew Evangelista Kick)
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1414
TD04:39Terrance West 63 Yd Run (Drew Evangelista Kick)
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2114
THIRD QUARTERTOWSEIU
TD13:15Jimmy Garoppolo 1 Yd Run (Cameron Berra Kick)
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2121
TD09:52Terrance West 6 Yd Run (Drew Evangelista Kick)
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2821
FG06:20Cameron Berra 28 Yd
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2824
TD01:13Terrance West 5 Yd Run (Drew Evangelista Kick)
Watch Highlight 
3524
FOURTH QUARTERTOWSEIU
TD14:35Jeff LePak 39 Yd Pass From Jimmy Garoppolo (Jimmy Garoppolo Pass To Erik Lora For Two-Point Conversion)
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3532
TD09:53Darius Victor 3 Yd Run (Drew Evangelista Kick)
Watch Highlight 
4232
TD07:33Terrance West 3 Yd Run (Drew Evangelista Kick)
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4932
TD03:08Ryan Meyer 10 Yd Run (Cameron Berra Kick)
Watch Highlight 
4939

Research Notes

UPDATES WITH WEST'S 5th RUSH TD OF NIGHT.... Towson RB Terrance West has 5 rushing TD so far tonight in the Tigers' FCS Quarterfinal game at Eastern Illinois tonight. That now gives West 38 rushing TD this season, breaking the FCS single-season record for rushing TD. The old mark of 35 was set by Delaware's Omar Cuff in 2007. West has 39 total TD on the season (38 rush, 1 rec), tying the FCS single-season record for total TD, also set by Cuff in 2007. West, a junior, now has 83 total TD (81 rush, 2 rec) for his career. The FCS career TD record is 89, set by Brian Westbrook of Villanova between 1997 & 2001.

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