TOWSON, Md. (AP) — Terrance West started his Towson football career as a walk-on who regularly left home at 3 a.m. to catch two buses and make pre-dawn practices on time.
He's come a long way since then.
West set an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoff record with 354 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns last Friday as Towson beat Eastern Illinois 49-39 in the national quarterfinals. He leads all of college football with 2,295 yards rushing and 39 touchdowns, numbers he hopes to increase Saturday in the semifinals against host Eastern Washington.
The Tigers (12-2) lean heavily on the junior running back, who vividly remembers the sacrifices he made to attend the school's 5 a.m. practices in 2011.
"I put in a lot of work at my craft," West said this week. "If you dedicate yourself and be determined or have a determined mindset, you can accomplish anything. I'm living what I work hard for."
The 5-foot-11, 223-pounder came from Northwestern High School in Baltimore followed by a year at Fork Union Military Academy.
Towson coach Rob Ambrose gave West the chance to join the team, and the running back's work ethic immediately caught the coach's eye.
"At 4 o'clock in the morning in the month of March, when it's really cold, there aren't many human beings in this town that are awake," Ambrose said. "And when I'm coming in here in the morning to unlock the building, he's waiting for me. Yeah, that's a competitive soul. That's somebody that wants it."
West quickly took off at Towson. In his first season, he won the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in FCS football. West has been a three-time All-Colonial Athletic Association first-teamer and recently was voted the conference's Offensive Player of the Year. He also was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award this season.