Seasons are littered with examples of the pitfalls that can occur if an FBS team doesn’t take an FCS team seriously. Or if it’s simply that the FCS team is the better team in such meetings.
There were five instances of FCS teams beating FBS teams last week — UC Davis over San Jose State, Villanova over Temple, Nicholls over Kansas, Northern Arizona over UTEP and, most notably in this state, North Carolina A&T over East Carolina.
So in that list, you’ve got one Power Five team losing (Kansas), one team that Wake Forest played in a bowl game two seasons ago (Temple) and one in-state conquest (N.C. A&T over East Carolina).
It’s those examples, plus the sheer culture that Coach Dave Clawson has created at Wake Forest, that mean the Deacons shouldn’t be overlooking this week’s FCS opponent, Towson.
Here are five things to know about Towson:
1. Towson’s quarterback has elite lineage
Tom Flacco is at Towson after transferring from Rutgers and Western Michigan. And he’s playing games at a stadium that’s less than 10 miles — as the raven flies — from where his brother, Joe Flacco, plays quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens.
Tom Flacco is more of a mobile threat than his brother and had an efficient first game with the Tigers, going 18 for 28 for 245 yards and two touchdowns last week against Morgan State.
“He is tough, athletic, has a strong arm, is a good football player. A good friend of ours coached him at Western Michigan and spoke very highly of him,” Clawson said of Flacco.
Also of note: The son of Troy Vincent, a five-time Pro-Bowler, is also on the team. He also goes by Troy Vincent.
2. Flacco is just one of several transfers
There are eight players on Towson’s roster that were, at one point, on Division I rosters. That includes receiver Jabari Greenwood, a Kentucky transfer who led the Tigers in receiving last year (53 catches for 616 yards) but didn’t play in last week’s opener.
“You can go down their roster and these were guys that were three-star, BCS, Power Five players and for whatever reason, things didn’t work out, and that’s the one advantage of FCS is that these guys can go there and play right away,” Clawson said.
3. A standout at each level of the defense
Clawson said one player at each level of the defense has caught the staff’s attention. Defensive lineman Bryce Carter, 6-foot-3 and 262 pounds, had five tackles and 1½ tackles for losses last week. Diondre Wallace is a 6-foot, 233-pound inebacker who checked a few boxes on the stat sheet last week: four tackles, one sack and one interception. And in the secondary, it’s safety Monty Fenner, who was second on the team with 72 tackles and led the Tigers with three interceptions last season.
4. Towson is from the best FCS conference
in the country
That one pretty much stands on its own. North Dakota State has won six of the past seven national championships, but the top-to-bottom best conference at the FCS level is the Colonial Athletic Association. In each of the past four seasons, the CAA has put four teams in the FCS playoffs.
Towson was picked in the league’s preseason poll to finish 10th in the 12-team conference.
5. It’s a nice place
to grow up
I moved to Towson when I was 12, and my parents still live there. It’s a 15-minute train ride from downtown Baltimore, but also less than an hour drive up into Pennsylvania. Like I said, a nice place to grow up.
I have never attended a Towson football game.