GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Coach Bill Hayes had mixed emotions after North Carolina A&T's 49-0 win yesterday over Morgan State at Aggie Stadium.
Hayes was happy his team had won, defeating a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opponent in its league opener to improve its overall record to 4-0.
But, he also felt sorry for his friend, Morgan State coach Edmund Wyche.
With 25 freshmen on the roster, Morgan State (0-4, 0-2) is taking its lumps.
"I know how he feels," Hayes said. "I've been through that before."
Wyche knew his squad was in trouble when the Aggies scored on the first play of the game.
With 15 seconds elapsed, A&T quarterback Connell Maynor connected with wide receiver Jarmal Leitzey, who had slipped behind the Bears secondary, for a 65-yard scoring pass. Vince Nyamor's point-after gave A&T a 7-0 lead.
Then, everything went downhill for the Bears. Morgan State fumbled six times, and two of its punts were blocked in the first half as the Aggies stayed in control.
The Bears, who have experimented with the run-and-shoot and two-back set offense, could not muster anything against the Aggies, whose linebackers, led by Victor Floyd and Delaney McKinnon, blitzed between the defensive gaps to put constant pressure on Morgan State's three freshman quarterbacks. Floyd finished with 12 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery and McKinnon was credited with eight tackles and two fumble recoveries.
One Bears turnover set up an A&T touchdown in the first quarter. A&T recovered a Morgan State fumble on the Bears' 39 and scored four plays later on Maynor's 9-yard pass to a wide-open Russell McClain.
The Aggies, primarily a running team, were able to pass against Morgan State. Maynor completed nine of 14 passes to five receivers. He finished with 183 yards passing and threw for four touchdowns.
Punting turned into a nightmare for Morgan State's Michael Andrews, as a hard-charging Aggies line blocked two kicks. Donald Hunt picked up one and returned it 3 yards for a touchdown and Rudy Artis scored on a 22-yard pass from Maynor, which was set up by another blocked punt.
The Aggies blocked another punt for a score but were penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, which nullified the touchdown. However, the outcome already had been decided, as the Aggies built a 42-0 lead by halftime.
With many seniors gone from a team that won four games last season, Wyche knew the Bears would be in for a rough ride, but he didn't expect anything like this.