Morgan State's 45-27 win is special

October 04, 1992|By Karen Troxel | Karen Troxel,Contributing Writer

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Yesterday was a special day for senior Eddie Hill and the Morgan State Bears.

Morgan State overcame a sluggish first half and capitalized on two special teams plays to roll to a 45-27 victory over the University of Buffalo.

"It feels pretty good," said Hill, who took a reverse handoff from Mario Anderson on a punt return early in the fourth quarter and ran 59 yards for a touchdown. It was the second straight punt returned for a score by Morgan State, turning a game of ups and downs into a rout. Anderson ran 59 yards for a score on the previous Buffalo punt.

"The first one was supposed to be a reverse, too," said Hill, who also had two interceptions and blocked a field goal for the Bears, "but I didn't get to Mario quick enough, and he just took it himself."

The win was the first on the road for Morgan State since 1989, when it beat Bethune-Cookman, 12-6.

Quarterback Orlanda Persell passed for 159 yards and three touchdowns and overcame a knee injury in the second quarter.

"I think I was more scared than actually hurt," said Persell, who left with Buffalo leading, 14-6. Four plays after Persell returned, running back Tony Phillips romped 15 yards to pull the Bears to 14-12 at the half.

"We knew if we just stopped hurting ourselves, we'd be OK," said Morgan State head coach Ricky Diggs.

After Buffalo scored a touchdown on the first drive of the second half, Morgan State scored on its next drive on a 19-yard completion from Persell to Bernard Barnes. Buffalo blocked the extra point attempt to keep a 21-18 lead.

On the next series, with the ball on the Morgan State 6, Buffalo went for the touchdown instead of a field goal, but the pass went incomplete.

"When the defense stopped them, that gave us confidence," said Phillips. Seventeen plays later, Persell hit Barnes from 21 yards to give Morgan State its first lead, and the Bears went on to score their most points since 1978.

(Morgan State 0 12 6 27 -- 45

Buffalo 0 14 7 6 -- 27

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