Morgan stops Johnson C. Smith, 25-21 1st win of season, 2nd in two years

September 27, 1992|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

Morgan State receiver Jesse Humphrey snatched victory out of Johnson C. Smith University's hands. Literally.

Humphrey reached over Smith defender Lorand Reed in the end zone and took the ball out of his hands to give Morgan a touchdown with 40 seconds remaining and a 25-21 victory yesterday before 5,428 at Hughes Stadium.

For Morgan (1-2), it was the first win this season, the second in two years under coach Ricky Diggs and the Bears' third in three years.

A fight broke out on the field after Smith quarterback Wesley Tate's desperation pass on the game's last play was broken up by Morgan defender Eddie Hill. Smith claimed Hill took the ball away from a receiver.

Players swung helmets as well as fists. A spectator wielded a crutch. The ugly scene lasted several minutes until a police car drove onto the field, lights flashing and siren wailing. No one apparently was hurt.

"I told my players I don't ever want to see that again," Diggs said. "We want to represent class. I don't care what was said or what provoked it -- be man enough to walk away."

Although the victory was over a Division II team, that didn't dilute it in Morgan's eyes.

"We just needed a win," Diggs said, noting it was the Bears' first since they beat Howard in last year's finale. "This was the shot in the arm we needed. Next week we'll be more confident."

Humphrey, a transfer from Montgomery Junior College, caught nine passes for 121 yards and all three Morgan touchdowns. The 25-yard pass for the winning score was from quarterback Orlando Persell, who completed 19 of 35 for 293 yards and the three touchdowns.

Morgan had attempted the same pass play, called "60 outside," on the previous play, but it was incomplete as Humphrey ran the wrong route.

"In a timeout, Orlando said we had to get it to Jesse," Diggs said. VTC "After Jesse ran the wrong route, we corrected him and sent in the same play. That's when it happened."

In the huddle, Persell told Humphrey the ball was coming his way and to "go get it." Humphrey told his quarterback not to worry.

"I jumped as high as I could," Humphrey said. "He (Reed) put his hands up and I put mine up and took it away."

Morgan came back after squandering a 17-7 halftime lead. Smith, of Charlotte, N.C., gained a 21-17 edge early in the fourth quarter on a 43-yard run by 230-pound fullback Tyrone Corlew.

"We stopped doing anything offensively," Diggs said. "We weren't executing."

The Bears didn't execute again with noticeable success until their final drive with 4:27 left. Hill triggered it by intercepting a Tate pass in the end zone. Morgan then drove to the winning score.

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