GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Morgan State began conference play yesterday the way it began its season the previous week -- with a big loss.
This time, North Carolina A&T administered the beating, defeating Morgan, 52-23, before 7,880 at Aggie Stadium in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
The previous week, Morgan dropped a 55-27 decision to Liberty.
In two games, Morgan State (0-2) has been outscored 107-40. The Aggies outgained the Bears, 529 yards to 338.
"We just didn't play any defense today," Morgan coach Ricky Diggs said. "We didn't tackle well; we didn't pass well. We didn't do anything well on defense.
"Every time we had an opportunity to get back into the ballgame [A&T] scored again. It's the defense's job to stop them. Regardless of the situation, they have to stop them."
N.C. A&T (3-0) couldn't be stopped in the first quarter, when it took a 21-0 lead.
A 41-yard touchdown pass from N.C. A&T quarterback David Russell to James White gave A&T the lead with 8:24 left in the first quarter.
Morgan fumbled away the ball at its 22 on the next possession. The Aggies scored six plays later when Russell went in from the 1.
The next Morgan series lasted five plays and ended with a punt. After that, N.C. A&T needed just four plays to score its third touchdown on an 8-yard pass from Russell to Earl Lewis with 2:20 left in the quarter.
Fortunes changed for Morgan in the second quarter. At 10:23 of the period, N.C. A&T's Barry Turner fumbled and Morgan safety Eric Johnson recovered at the Aggies 26.
On the next play, Bears running back Tony Phillips broke free through the middle for a 26-yard touchdown at 10:47.
On N.C. A&T's next series, Morgan's Mario River picked off a pass at midfield and returned the ball to the Aggies 26. Michael rTC Andrews later kicked a 26-yard field goal to cut the Bears' deficit to 21-10.
A&T took complete command by scoring 10 points on its next two possessions to open a 31-10 halftime lead.
Morgan scored 13 points in the fourth quarter on two touchdown runs by Phillips. His final touchdown was set up by his 83-yard kickoff return to the 2. Phillips finished with 184 yards on seven returns.
"I didn't score at all last week," Phillips said, who rushed for 91 yards on 16 carries. "But my goal has always been to improve each week. I owe my success today to the blocking on special teams, and to our offensive line."
"The son-of-a-gun played his heart out," Diggs said. "What I need is 21 other guys playing as hard as him out on the field."