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2018 Wake Forest Football Preseason Opponent Preview: Towson

Wake’s non-FBS opponent this year is in the form of the Towson Tigers, the 2013 FCS National Championship Runners-Up.

Towson v South Florida Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images

We’re now just over a month away from the 2018 Wake Forest Football season and I couldn’t be more excited. So excited, in fact, that I decided to aggregate a few facts on the small FCS program the Deacons will invite to Winston-Salem for their home opener on 9/8 this season: Towson.

I know you are probably already an expert on the Tigers’ football team and everything they have going for them this fall, but if you want a refresher, feel free to check out a few quick notes about the program below.

Colonial Athletic Association: High-Quality FCS

Towson plays in arguably the toughest conference in the entire FCS: The Colonial Athletic Association. The league consistently puts out multiple FCS Playoff teams, often headlined by James Madison who have now won the conference 3 seasons in a row. Other CAA members include: Delaware, Elon, New Hampshire, Villanova, and Richmond (where Dave Clawson won the league in 2007). Craig Haley of Athlon Sports recently listed the CAA as the best conference in all of FCS, and depth throughout the league is certainly a reason for that.

Returning Faces and New Pieces

Over 80% of Towson’s 2017 roster will return next season, including 6’4 210 starting QB Ryan Stover. This is good news for a squad that finished the season winning 3 out of their last 4 with the only loss being to a Top 10 Elon team in double-OT. Former Rutgers and Western Michigan Quarterback Tom Flacco (Yes, Joe’s brother) has also joined the program as a grad-transfer after a few years of experience at the FBS level. The decision to move to Towson came last month, likely somewhat influenced by the fact that Rutgers felt comfortable with who they had at QB going forward and Flacco was unlikely to see the field much in 2018.

In terms of other players to keep an eye on, DB Monty Fenner had a solid 2017 with 72 Total Tackles and 3 Interceptions, while Sophomore WR Rodney Dorsey was 2nd Team All-CAA as a Kick-Returner and played in 10 games overall last season as a true freshman.

2018 Projection: 10th in the CAA

For a team that returns a decent amount of its roster and went a respectable 3-5 in the league last year, a preseason CAA rank of 10th in the media seems a little harsh. As a reference, the last CAA opponent Wake Forest played was Elon in 2015, which finished T-7th in the conference and the Deacs racked up a season-high 41 points against. Since a remarkable run to the 2013 FCS National Title Game, the Tigers have yet to finish above 4th in the CAA and have not received a postseason bid to the tournament.

Fun Facts: Towson Football Style

STADIUM: Towson Football’s home is called Johnny Unitas Stadium, named after the legendary Baltimore Colts QB who had close connections with the university and evidently the area itself. It seats just over 11,000 fans and first opened back in 1978.

NFL PLAYERS: Multiple Towson Tigers have made appearances on NFL rosters over the years, including DB Chad Scott, Towson’s only ever 1st round draft pick, and OT Jermon Bushrod, who was selected to the Pro Bowl in both 2011 and 2012.

ESPN’s FPI lists Wake’s Week 2 matchup against Towson as the easiest on the schedule with a 98.6% win expectancy. While the Deacs should never take an opponent lightly, one would hope the team can get out to a big lead early and be able to distribute game reps to underclassmen, particularly freshman who can now benefit from the new Redshirt Rule in college football. Score some points, give younger players their first game action at BB&T Field, and get out of the week injury-free/undefeated. If we can accomplish those 3 things in this matchup, I think it’s safe to say this game would be a total success.