Grambling didn't have to humiliate Morgan St.

September 19, 1994|By JOHN STEADMAN

It didn't have to be 87-12. Grambling's annihilation of Morgan State Saturday night was almost inhumane. And that's regretful. Half that score would have more than sufficed and made everyone realize that Grambling and its icon leader, Eddie Robinson, are indeed an awesome combination.

The old coach and his young Tigers devoured Morgan on an occasion when they were playing in s Memorial Stadium. It's the highest total any college or pro team has ever put on the scoreboard there, or even Municipal Stadium, which was on the same location and dates back to 1923.

For Grambling, it's another lopsided win registered for perpetuity in an impressive record book. But did it need to thump an overmatched opponent to the point of humiliation in front of its home crowd? Robinson could have called off the horses when he knew the game was in hand but preferred not to show Morgan any mercy.

More was expected from Robinson, the legendary coach of Grambling, than to destroy a rival by such a lopsided count. Opposing generals in war have shown more consideration for a routed foe than Robinson demonstrated at a mere football game.

Would Grambling have been any less impressive winning by 40-12 than 87-12? What it does is make Robinson appear to be a cold, relentless coach who is interested in self-aggrandizement even though he has built a brilliant career. Beating Morgan 87-12 doesn't add to his already illustrious achievements but, if anything, detracts from his prestige.

Robinson is enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame, with Rockne, Bryant, Stagg, Zuppke and all the rest of those auspicious coaches of the past. But it certainly didn't help his reputation nor that of Grambling to roll into Baltimore and take apart a young team and shatter whatever confidence another coach is endeavoring to impart to his players.

The student body, faculty and the alumni, on the receiving end of that kind of an unnecessary trouncing, becomes discouraged. From a financial standpoint, it becomes more difficult to sell tickets to future games. Morale takes a beating. Morgan knows this, oh, so well.

We're hardly naive but has all sportsmanship gone from college football? Is there no decency left? What about an element of respect for the team from the other educational institution you're playing?

Admittedly, what Robinson was doing, piling it on, is in keeping with what the mad bombers at the University of Miami and Florida State have done so frequently in the past to improve their positions in the national polls.

Because they traded a proliferation of points to gain high ratings is no reason for Robinson and Grambling to pound Morgan into helpless submission. Curtis Ceaser, a wide receiver, who caught three passes, each for a touchdown, admitted, "We were talking about trying to score a hundred." Too bad.

With two seconds remaining in the first half, the score 53-6, Robinson took a timeout. This allowed Grambling one final play, which it used for a Larry Dykes touchdown.

When it was only 44-6, earlier in the second period, Grambling disregarded the one-point conversion and took two instead, utilizing a "tackle eligible" pass play. There's no reasonable way to explain such bulliness, even if Robinson might now say he wanted to give future opponents something to think about when they rush the kicker.

The 1994 Morgan outfit, which is expected, doesn't resemble the powerful Bears squads of yesteryear and Robinson knew that. Only last week, Morgan fell, 41-0, to Bethune-Cookman. The veteran coach knew what the scouting reports told him. Morgan was in over its head, but Robinson still showed no pity.

We think of Morgan and Grambling as "old friends;" respectful of each other, proud of their association and aware historically of what each has been able to accomplish, in their own separate ways, over the years. Under the circumstances, there was no rational reason for trampling all over Morgan to the tune of 87-12.

Can a coach check a team from scoring? That's an age-old question but the answer is apparent. Absolutely. He simply tells them "we have enough, so run out the clock and get it over without taking the ball into the end zone."

The suggestion might be advanced that a coach shouldn't restrict his players from scoring, that they should stomp all over the opposition regardless of the score.

But all Robinson and his Grambling machine achieved in Baltimore, after checking the result, was to administer a physical beating to a Morgan team that was far outclassed. Robinson could have offered compassion to a beaten adversary but preferred to ignore such a virtue.

Grambling, to utilize an analogy of the battlefield, didn't take any prisoners. Instead of being pleased with 87-12, it ought to be embarrassed.

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