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WILLIAMSBURG – The seventh-ranked William & Mary football team extended its winning streak to six games and wrapped up an undefeated regular season home slate with a 31-17 victory against Towson on Senior Day at Zable Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, W&M (8-2, 6-1) likely secures the program’s 10th NCAA Tournament bid and will play for the Colonial Athletic Association’s outright title when it squares off at No. 9/12 Richmond next Saturday.
En route to snapping Towson’s (6-4, 4-3) four-game winning streak, the Tribe was led offensively by junior quarterback Steve Cluley who completed 21-of-23 passes for 262 yards with two touchdowns – both of which went to junior wideout Kevin Hart. The 91.3 completion percentage set a single-game school record.
Defensively, senior linebacker Zach Fetters returned a fumble 36 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, while sophomore Mike Barta recorded a key interception in the end zone to halt a scoring drive by Towson early in the fourth. Senior free safety DeAndre Houston-Carson also came up big with a game-high 12 tackles.
In addition to outgaining Towson, 433-367, W&M converted 8-of-10 third down situations. Additionally, it marked the sixth consecutive game in which W&M has scored more than 30 points – the program’s longest such stretch since it accomplished the feat in eight straight contests in 1993.
W&M got on the scoreboard first with a 22-yard field goal by sophomore Nick Dorka Jr., midway through the opening quarter. Highlighting the drive was a 51-yard pass from Cluley to sophomore wideout Daniel Kuzjak on a third-and-6 from the Tribe’s 7-yard line.
After the Tigers knotted the score at 3-3 with a 34-yard field goal by Sam Hurwitz early in the second quarter, W&M answered with a 12-play, 77-yard touchdown drive that culminated with a 5-yard pass from Cluley to Hart.
The Tribe extended the margin to 17-3 when Fetters returned a Towson fumble 36 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter. The miscue happened when tailback Darius Victor was unable to secure a lateral pass from quarterback Connor Frazier, and Fetters scooped up the loose ball and raced down the Towson sideline into the end zone.
Towson countered with a quick touchdown drive of its own when Victor scored on a 13-yard run with 5:59 left in the third quarter.
TU marched to W&M’s 6-yard line on its next possession, but Barta intercepted Frazier in the end zone on a third-and-goal to halt Towson’s scoring opportunity. W&M then marched 80-yards in eight plays and found the end zone with a 35-yard strike from Cluley to Hart. Keying the drive was a 22-yard screen pass from Cluley to senior running back Mikal Abdul-Saboor on a third-and-14 from the W&M 42.
Although Towson narrowed the margin to 24-17 with a 1-yard touchdown run by Victor with 4:05 remaining in the fourth quarter, Kuzjak recovered the ensuing onside kick at midfield. W&M then sealed the important triumph with a 3-yard touchdown run by junior Kendell Anderson with 1:11 on the clock.
Abdul Saboor (77 yards on 13 carries) and Anderson (69 yards on 16 carries) led the ground attack, while Kuzjak totaled four catches for 88 yards.
In addition to his two touchdown runs, Victor led Towson with 96 yards on 24 carries. Frazier finished the contest 19-of-30 for 231 yards, while Jacquille Veii posted seven catches for 70 yards.
The Tribe will wrap up the regular season when at Richmond noon Saturday. The game will be televised regionally by Comcast SportsNet.