Following a stunning season-opening loss at home to Central Connecticut State, the Towson Tigers (0-1) will travel west to Morgantown for a David versus Goliath showdown with West Virginia (0-1) on Saturday.
The Mountaineers are coming off a tough loss of their own to No. 2 Alabama, but will be massive favorites to rebound in front of a raucous crowd at Milan Puskar Stadium.
With Rob Ambrose's squad staring down a potential 0-2 start to the 2014 season, let's take a closer look at a trio of players who must shine for the Tigers if they are to have any chance of extending their 12-game road winning streak and stunning the Mountaineers on Saturday night.
Christian Carpenter, FS
Towson could potentially receive a big boost on Saturday if junior free safety Christian Carpenter can return to action. According to Ambrose, via The Baltimore Sun's Edward Lee, Carpenter is on schedule to make his season debut after missing the opener with concussion-related symptoms.
An All-CAA first-team selection a season ago, Carpenter led the Tigers with four interceptions in 2013 and ranked fourth on the team with 98 total tackles.
The Tigers' secondary was exposed in the opener, so adding an experienced playmaker like Carpenter to the mix is huge.
Connor Frazier, QB
Offensively, Towson's success begins and ends with junior signal-caller Connor Frazier, who racked up 205 yards and three total touchdowns in the opener. But if Towson is going to keep West Virginia's potent offensive attack on the sideline and stretch the Mountaineers' defense on Saturday night, it'll be up to Frazier to convert on third down and give his receivers a better chance to win their matchups downfield.
Frazier struggled mightily through the air a week ago, completing just 14 of 26 passes for 125 yards and a score. What's more, the Towson offense converted on just 3 of 14 third-down attempts in the loss.
Similar numbers won't get it done against an opponent of West Virginia's caliber.
Fred Overstreet, LB
While the Tigers' defense lost a handful of key starters from last season, no unit was hit harder than the linebacking corps. And on Saturday, senior linebacker Fred Overstreet will need to be at his best alongside Walter Dunston and James Simms in order relieve the pressure on Towson's secondary.
Overstreet and company were gashed to the tune of 465 total yards last week and must improve on Saturday if Towson is going to spring the upset. As the lone senior among Towson's linebacking unit, Overstreet's performance and leadership will be pivotal for the Tigers in a hostile environment this weekend.