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A great 8: Tribe pounds Towson, 31-0

  • Varno open
    Varno open  Tribe tight end Rob Varno hauls in a pass from R.J. Archer during W&M's 31-0 clobbering of Towson University.  by Jim Agnew
  • Superb defense
    Superb defense  W&M's defense, No. 1 nationally against the run, closes fast on Towson University ballcarrier.  by Jim Agnew
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The fifth-ranked William and Mary football team extended its winning streak to four games and continued its march to a probable postseason playoff appearance by posting a 31-0 victory against Towson University at Zable Stadium on Nov. 7. The victory marked the Tribe’s first shutout since blanking Liberty, 56-0, in 2005.

W&M improved to 8-1, equaling the program’s best mark through nine games since 1986. Additionally, the College improves to 5-1 in Colonial Athletic Association play for the second consecutive season. It marks the 10th time head coach Jimmye Laycock has guided his team to at least eight victories in a season.

W&M nearly doubled Towson’s total yardage, outgaining the Tigers, 396-201. The Tribe, the nation’s top-ranked defense against the run, allowed Towson just 72 rushing yards and only 11 first downs.

Sophomore linebacker Jake Trantin recorded a team-high eight tackles, along with an interception. Junior linebacker Evan Francks tallied seven stops with a sack. Junior cornerback Terrell Wells earned his first career interception, which halted Towson’s only trip into the red zone. On Monday, Trantin was named CAA defensive player of the week. The Odenton, Md., native is the second Tribe player so honored this season.

Senior quarterback R.J. Archer threw for 206 yards and accounted for two touchdowns ­ one passing, one running. Sophomore running back Jonathan Grimes led the Tribe with a game-high 91 yards rushing and a touchdown, while junior tailback Courtland Marriner contributed 65 yards rushing on but nine carries (7.2 yards per carry) and a touchdown.

Senior tight end Rob Varno registered a game-high four catches for 70 yards, while senior wideout Eric Robertson had a pair of catches for 48 yards and hauled in his first career touchdown catch.

Although they led just 3-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Tribe had set the tone of the game by limiting Towson’s offense to just 36 yards and one first down.

Archer scored on an 8-yard quarterback keeper with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter to goose the lead to 10-0. The 18-play, 68-yard drive lasted more than seven minutes, aided by a personal-foul penalty against Towson following a third-down incompletion.

Later in the half, Grimes punctuated W&M’s longest scoring drive of the season – 92 yards – with a two-yard touchdown run to increase the lead to  a comfortable17-0.

In the second half, Robertson hauled in a 25-yard touchdown catch, the first of his career, with 4:16 remaining in the third quarter. Later, sophomore quarterback Terrance Schmand engineered the Tribe’s final scoring drive, which covered 83 yards on 11 plays and ended with a 2-yard scamper by Marriner on a fourth-and-goal. It was the College’s third touchdown drive of the afternoon that covered more than 80 yards.

The Tribe will close out its regular-season home slate on Saturday when they hosts seventh-ranked New Hampshire in a crucial CAA game.

New Hampshire is also 8-1, leads the CAA in scoring offense at 35 points a game (W&M is fourth). Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. Tickets are still available.