West’s record 356 rushing yards lead Towson for semifinals

CHARLESTON, Ill. – After he walked off the snow-covered field at Eastern Illinois Friday night, Towson running back Terrance West said he was pretty sure he’d never played a game quite like this one.

Snow, sleet, rain and 30- degree temperatures.

And he had no idea just how well he’d handled it.

West ran for 356 yards and five touchdowns on 39 carries, leading the Tigers (12-2) to a 49-39 win over the Panthers (12-2) and a spot in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals. Towson will meet either Eastern Washington or Jacksonville (Ala.) State next week.

Along the way West set an FCS playoff record for rushing yards, something he had no idea he’d done until he was asked about it after the game.

“I did?” he asked. “If you picture big plays, you make big plays. So I was picturing.”

What Eastern Illinois coach Dino Babers watched wasn’t what he had in mind.

“I just thought this was the team of destiny. I really did,” he said. … “I can take (West’s) big plays,” he added. “It’s all his little plays. You hit him and he keeps moving forward.”

West’s night broke a record set by Georgia Southern back Adrian Peterson – the former Chicago Bear rather than the current Minnesota Viking – in 1999.

Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo finished 38 for 50 for 321 yards and two touchdowns. His top target, Erik Lora, had 18 receptions for 129 yards and a TD.

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