CHENEY, Wash. — The Towson Tigers punched their ticket to Frisco, Texas, for the FCS National Championship game with an improbable fourth-quarter comeback on Saturday at Roos Field, beating Eastern Washington, 35-31.
With 17 seconds left, Towson quarterback Connor Frazier had his number called, sneaking over the goal line from the one-yard-line for the winning points on third down to cap a 71-yard drive.
Momentum had been leaning toward Eastern Washington going into the fourth quarter, with the Eagles having scored 31 unanswered points on the arm of Vernon Adams.
But Frazier, who took over after starting quarterback Peter Athens sustained a shoulder injury, made rushing play after big rushing play to lead two fourth quarter touchdown drives to send Eastern Washington packing with its second-consecutive FCS National semifinal loss at home.
Snowy slush covered Roos Field’s red “inferno” turf at the opening kickoff.
Towson jumped out to a 21-0 lead on the arm of Athens. He eluded pressure, ran around and threw the ball down the field to the tune of 144 yards and two touchdowns on 8-of-9 passing.
But by the third quarter the turf was clear and glaring red, and the Eagles were rolling with a 17-point third quarter.
Adams lived up to his reputation in the third quarter, throwing for 131 yards on 8-of-11 passing and leading three scoring drives after being held to one touchdown in the first half.
Adams finished with 394 yards passing, 65 yards rushing and two touchdown passes.
Fortune was on Towson’s side in the first half.
Athens completed two deep scoring throws, and the Tigers held defensively on the goal line at the end of the first half when Adams tried to run for a touchdown instead of throwing it with 12 seconds left.
Adams was tackled just short of the goal line.
Momentum shifted toward Eastern Washington in the third quarter, after Athens injured his shoulder on a fumbled snap that was recovered by the Eagles with two minutes remaining in the first half.
Athens did not play in the second half.
Towson running back Terrance West set FCS records for touchdowns and yards in one season, the latter set by Jamaal Branch of Colgate, who had 2,326 yards in 2003.
West had 78 yards and a touchdown as Towson built its 21-0 lead.