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It is perhaps perfect timing for the fast-improving Tigers, who will receive a guarantee of about $250,000 for the trip. They rotate a solid stable of tailbacks, have received efficient play from quarterback Grant Enders and have scored 31 points in three straight games for the first time since 2002.

They also don’t lack bravado. Towson returned its allotment of full-priced tickets to Maryland earlier this month, telling its fans it could purchase better, cheaper seats on the secondary market. And the Tigers anticipate their supporters will follow them down Interstate 95.

“I don’t see that Maryland game as being a home game for them,” defensive end Frank Beltre said. “I see it as being a home game for us, because this is home for us. Towson is in Maryland. We’re just going to another field. We’re taking it as our field broke down and we have to go to some other stadium to play, but we’re taking our fans with us.”

There’s more of them than ever. Several students approached Ambrose in the days after the defeat of Villanova to tell him it was the greatest moment of their college careers — “And these are kids that are sober,” Ambrose said. On a campus of more than 20,000, football could be starting to tie a community together.

The spotlight of a visit to State U. this weekend can only strengthen that.

“By no sense have we arrived,” Ambrose said. “Not at all. But now we’re starting to move the thing forward in a way that’s noticeable, and it’s really cool.”