All week long, William & Mary coach Mike London had told place-kicker Ethan Chang to be ready. If the situation presented itself, he might have the ball in his hands.
“And I was like, ‘OK, whatever you say,'” Chang said. “I don’t know if I believed him.”
Well, as Chang lined up for 34-yard field goal attempt Saturday, the situation presented itself. London was a man of his word, and Chang caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from holder Andrew Piercy — yet another way for the Tribe to score in a 44-24 win at Towson.
The Tribe (6-1, 3-1 CAA) piled up 481 yards of offense, an even 300 on the ground in a dominant performance following an idle week. W&M scored five touchdowns and a field goal on its first six possessions and led 37-3 less than four minutes into the third quarter.
The Tribe scored in a variety of ways, including the ho-hum (a pair of short runs by Donavyn Lester) and its longest play from scrimmage in three years (an 83-yard pass from Darius Wilson to tight end Lachlan Pitts). But Chang’s catch-and-run was the prize.
W&M led 14-3 early in the second quarter, and it was fourth-and-6 from the Towson 17-yard line. On came the field goal team.
As Piercy took the snap, Chang sprinted left and took an immediate pass. He got the first down and, with a block from Trey McDonald at the 10-yard line, six points.
The last time Chang scored a touchdown on any level?
“Uh, never,” he said. “I played a little defense in high school, but I never scored any touchdowns.”
(Side note: Piercy’s career passer rating is now 527.8).
Lester’s 3-yard touchdown run made it 27-3 with 4:57 left in the second quarter, and Chang kicked a 42-yard field goal with 55 seconds remaining to make it 30-3 at halftime. Wilson and Pitts hooked up on W&M’s first play from scrimmage in the second half to make it 37-3.
“We started fast and saw some things we’d be able to get after a little bit,” London said. “When you go on the road and play a tough, physical team like Towson and you show you’ve got grit and tenacity, I thought a lot of players played well.
“It was a testament to the coaches getting the guys ready to play and come out with a win. … Everyone was highly involved and it was a great team win.”
In a testament to the depth of its running game, William & Mary had 300 yards but no individual broke 100. Malachi Imoh led the Tribe with 94 yards on eight carries, and Bronson Yoder added 81 on 11 — all in the first half.
Backup quarterback and Swiss Army Knife Hollis Mathis ran for a season-high 67 yards and had a 6-yard catch for a first down.
Wilson completed 8-of-15 passes for 164 yards with two touchdowns. Defensively, safety Tye Freeland had a season-high nine tackles, six of them solo, and forced fumble that ended a Towson red zone trip. Safety Malcolm Spencer, defensive end Nate Lynn and linebackers Isaiah Jones and Brayden Staib had seven stops apiece.
“We got some rest and got everybody back healthy,” Freeland said. “We’re doing what we do best.”
NOTES: Pitts has four touchdown catches this season, the most by a W&M tight end since Drew Atchison’s six in 2007. … The Tribe is 4-0 on the road for the first time since 1976. … W&M is one of four teams tied for second place in the conference standings behind New Hampshire. One is next week’s opponent: Rhode Island, which defeated Monmouth 48-46 in seven overtimes Saturday. … With touchdowns by Chang and running back Martin Lucas Saturday, eleven different Tribe players have reached the end zone this season. … Piercy became the third W&M player to throw a touchdown pass this season. … W&M has scored 40 or more points twice in a season for the first time since 2015.