DURHAM — N.C. Central gave the highest-ranking team ever to visit OKelly-Riddick Stadium all that it could handle, but the No. 4-ranked Towson Tigers dominated the second half to pull away for a 35-17 win. Walter Payton candidate Terrance West rushed for just 37 yards in the first half, but exploded in the second to finish with 139 yards and two touchdowns.
The Tigers won their eighth straight game, the second-longest winning streak in FCS football.
Towson held the Eagles to minus-24 rushing yards in the second half to break open a 14-10 halftime lead.
I told our guys its (the game) about us, Towson coach Rob Ambrose said. We made every mistake imaginable in the first half, and we were still ahead. But they are a very good football team: tough, physical and well coached.
N.C. Central quarterback Jordan Reid had a career-high day in passing yards (292) but was sacked six times. The Eagles also converted just 4 of 15 third-down attempts, while Towson was 9 of 15.
Our effort was high, but we have to do better execution wise, NCCU interim coach Dwayne Foster said. They (Towson) made some adjustments in the second half, but our guys fought back. We just didnt capitalize off turnovers when we got the ball back.
The Tigers scored on their first two possession of the third quarter to take a 28-10 lead: A four-play 67-yard drive that West sealed with a 22-yard run, followed by 86 yards on 12 plays that ended with Darius Victor scooting in from the 4.
The Eagles got their first break of the second half when Towson was called for two personal fouls just as the third quarter ended. Reid found Thomas Dixon for a 40-yard strike to pull to within 11.
Towsons second fumble was recovered by Eagles defensive back Ryan Smith, but Reid gave the ball right back with an interception.
Darius Victors 10-yarder gave the Tigers their final points with just under a minute left.
Were not looking for any moral victories, Eagles receiver Marvin Poole said. We know we can play with anybody. We just didnt execute in the second half.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Tigers broke the drought with a 13 play, 79-yard drive that culminated in QB Peter Athens connecting with tight end James Oboh for 9 yards.
The Tigers committed the games first turnover when NCCUs punt hit a player in the back, and the Eagles recovered at the Towson 23. Reid made them pay two plays later with a 21-yard strike to Poole for a 7-7 tie.
Towson struck back with a West 1-yard run before Eagles kicker Oleg Parent hit a 33-yard field goal with two seconds remaining.
Sacred Heart 78, Chowan 35: Sacred Heart scored three touchdowns on defense and another on special teams on its way to a single-game school record for points in Fairfield, Conn.
UNC Pembroke 41, Shaw 20: The Shaw (2-1) defense gave up 533 yards of total offense to UNC Pembroke, falling in the Cape Fear Classic played in Wilmington.
Saint Augustines 35, Stillman 7: AJ Gilford threw for two touchdowns and ran for another for the host Falcons (1-2).