Morgan state fumbles chance, 35-24 Turnover at goal line costly against Samford


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Fourth-quarter turnovers cost Morgan State the game in its first meeting with Samford last season.

And yesterday, a fumble at the goal line with eight minutes left to play ended the Bears' drive and comeback hopes as Morgan State fell to the Bulldogs, 35-24, at Seibert Stadium.

"We gave up too many big plays on defense and too many turnovers on offense," said Morgan State coach Ricky Diggs. "When we had the chance to get back in the ballgame, what did we do? Fumble the ball at the 3-yard line."

Morgan State's defense continued to be a problem, as Samford piled up 484 total yards. The Bears, however, racked up 345 net yards, which included 119 rushing and 226 passing.

Wide receiver Elijah Cameron's 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and 35-yard pass reception for a score paced Morgan State's offense. The senior had 81 receiving yards, which also helped put quarterback Michael Moore within 114 yards of tying his own single-season passing mark set in 1994.

Samford freshman Steve Hayden's 189 rushing yards included four touchdowns, which tied a school record for scores in a game.

The Bulldogs scored first with a 2-yard run by Hayden at the 5:15 mark of the first quarter. Hayden ran up the middle for a 9-yard score to put the Bulldogs up by two touchdowns in the second quarter.

Cameron took the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for the Bears' first score.

Hayden scored his third touchdown with 14 seconds left before halftime, and Mike Howell's extra-point kick gave Samford a 21-7 lead at intermission.

Shane Griffiths kicked a 47-yard field goal to open the scoring in the second half.

After Bulldogs linebacker Cory O'Neal's interception three series later, Hayden ran up the middle for 6 yards and his school-tying touchdown.

Morgan State fullback Andre Thomas ran 4 yards to cap a 14-play, 70-yard scoring drive to open the fourth quarter and to cut into Samford's lead.

The Bears threatened again two series later, but Moore's fumble at Samford's 3-yard line was recovered by Bulldogs cornerback Andre Slayton. Samford promptly took the ball 97 yards for another touchdown, culminating in tailback James Griffith's 6-yard run.

Moore's 35-yard strike to Cameron with 3:31 left to play closed the scoring and dropped Morgan State to 1-8.

"My hat's off to Diggs and his players," said Samford coach Pete Hurt. "They have some talented running backs and receivers, and their record is misleading."

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