When the Towson Tigers took on Eastern Illinois in the FCS Playoffs, it was supposed to be an opportunity to check out quarterback prospect Jimmy Garoppolo. Eastern Illinois was the #2 seed at home and they got out to a 14-0 lead as expected over #7 seed Towson. From that point on, Towson running back Terrance West became the star of the game, carrying the ball a total of 39 times fro 354 yards and 5 touchdowns and the Tigers outscored Garoppolo and Eastern Illinois 49-25. From that point on, the Cleveland Browns third round pick was the star of the FCS playoffs.
Despite only being 5’9″, West looked like a giant against the competition. He looked the part of big back, running through tacklers, fighting for extra yardage and dragging defenders, but West showcased the ability to make cuts and enough long speed to take plays the distance. The combination made the defense look simply helpless in trying to stop him.
Once he got going, every time Eastern Illinois was held to a punt or a field goal, West was going to get the ball and he was going to score. West was an unstoppable force. It just started to look like a high school game with a top back against an undermanned opponent, but Towson needed every carry and every yard in order to secure the upset.
The following week, Towson went on the road again, this time to Eastern Washington and their red field in Cheney, Washington. The Eagles had an overwhelming passing attack and most people expected them to simply be too much for Towson; the Tigers were a one week wonder.
The Tigers went right back to the ground game and gave West the ball early and often, allowing Towson to get out to a 14-0 lead. They went into the half with a 21-7 lead. In the third quarter, Eastern Washington was able to score 17 unanswered points and took a 24-21 lead into the fourth quarter with a feeling that they had figured it out and go onto win the game. They went up 31-21 in the fourth quarter before West and the Tigers were able to score 14 points and pull off another upset victory.
West was not nearly as dominant against Eastern Washington as he was against Towson, but he did rush 27 times for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a great run to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter where he looked to be stopped behind the line of scrimmage running to the left, fought out of a tackle, went all the way to the right and got into the end zone.
The Cinderella story ended in the championship game when Towson played undefeated North Dakota State, the overwhelming power house of FCS football. West was able to get 99 yards and a touchdown on the ground as well as 5 receptions for 39 yards, but the Bison were too big, too powerful to be stopped and won the game in a rout, 35-7.
North Dakota State won the championship, but the player people were talking about in the FCS playoffs was West. He put Towson on his back to upset Eastern Illinois, had a good game in the crazy ending that allowed them to win on the red field, and did his best to try to give his team a shot against North Dakota State. For the entire season, West had 2,767 yards total yards and 42 touchdowns. The Browns don’t need West to be the one man wrecking crew that he was for Towson, but it’s nice that he showed he can be.