Towson, Morgan resume after 5 years

November 20, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

Like two families who can't quite see eye to eye but have agreed to put aside their differences, Morgan State and Towson State play football for the first time in five years today.

And there will be something more on the line at Hughes Stadium than usual.

"A lot of these guys have never gone through the cross-town rivalry game," said Towson coach Gordie Combs. "I think it's great to play those games. I went to Calvert Hall, and I know how it is to play somebody in the area and to have it mean something. I like rivalries."

That Towson and Morgan are cross-town rivals is not in dispute. But the factors that halted the nine-game series after the Tigers beat the Bears, 39-10, in 1987 are as contentious as the competition on the field.

Joe McIver, Morgan's sports information director and former interim athletic director, recalled that officials from both schools had concerns that led to the interruption of the series, which Towson leads 6-3.

McIver said Towson officials were not pleased with lack of accommodations at Hughes Stadium for visitors that forced them to return to Towson wearing their dirty uniforms.

DMcIver said Morgan officials were less than thrilled that six of the nine games had been played at Towson.

There was something else: the transfer of running back David Meggett to Towson from Morgan in 1987. Meggett, a quarterback and defensive back at Morgan, excelled at Towson as a running back, winning two team Most Valuable Player awards before going on to star with the New York Giants of the NFL.

"There were some ill feelings over that," said McIver. "He [former Morgan coach Jesse Thomas] was upset that one of his better ballplayers would go across town. He [Meggett] gave us fits. We knew the type of player he was."

But thanks to the renovation of Morgan's Heard Gymnasium, where visiting teams now dress, and a two-year home-and-home contract, McIver and Towson athletic director Billy Hunter were able to bring the teams together.

Today, both sides will have more than a rivalry to play for. The Bears (2-7) have dropped their past six games but can finish with three wins for the first time since 1989 and the second time since 1982.

The 25th-ranked Tigers (7-2) need to beat Morgan to have a reasonable shot when invitations to the Division I-AA playoffs are announced tomorrow.

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