Recap: Towson 49, Eastern Illinois 39
Towson 49, Eastern Illinois 39: Terrance West ran 39 times for a career-high 354 yards and matched another personal best with five rushing touchdowns as the visiting Tigers upset the Panthers in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.
West - one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award - matched the FCS single-season record for touchdowns with 39, tying former Delaware running back Omar Cuff's mark in 2007. Seventh-seeded Towson (12-2), which rushed for a school-record 472 yards, will meet either Jacksonville State or Eastern Washington in the semifinals.
Jimmy Garoppolo, who is also in the running for the Payton Award, passed for 321 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more for No. 2 Eastern Illinois (12-2). Erik Lora finished with 18 receptions for 129 yards and a score to pace the Panthers' top-ranked offense.
Garoppolo helped Eastern Illinois to a 14-0 first-quarter advantage on its first two drives, finding Lora on a 3-yard score on the opening possession and following a three-and-out by Towson with a 6-yard scoring run. West broke loose for scoring runs of 9 and 63 yards in the second quarter and gave the Tigers the lead for good at 28-21 in the third quarter with a 6-yard score.
Cameron Berra trimmed the deficit to four on the ensuing possession with a 28-yard field goal before West's 5-yard TD run - his fourth of the game - capped the third-quarter scoring. Garoppolo found Jeff LePak for a 39-yard score on the first play of the fourth quarter, but Darius Victor and West put the game away with a pair of 3-yard scores midway through the final stanza.
GAME NOTEBOOK: West became the 14th player in FCS history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season and has 2,295 for the year. … The Panthers, who fell to 4-15 all-time in the FCS playoffs, also surrendered 434 rushing yards in their first-round loss last season to South Dakota State. … Towson has won 11 straight road contests.