Covington, Morgan control Cheyney Despite penalties, Bears get 29-0 win, 3-1 record

September 29, 1996|By Jon Marks | Jon Marks,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

PHILADELPHIA -- Six turnovers. Thirteen penalties for 122 yards. Three times coming up empty after getting inside the 10-yard line. Sounds like a sure recipe for disaster for any team.

But nothing seems to faze Morgan State these days since coach Stump Mitchell took over. Suddenly, all those dreary afternoons seem like a thing of the past.

"Definitely, this is only the beginning for us," said versatile quarterback Otis Covington, after the Bears (3-1) overcame those roadblocks to rout Cheyney State, 29-0, yesterday. Morgan, which is above .500 for the second time in 14 years, handed the toothless Wolves their 13th straight loss and extended their winless streak to 26 games.

"But we must begin to play better football," Covington said. "We haven't played to our potential all season. We have to play more disciplined football. We're definitely concerned, especially for our future games."

Yet Mitchell would rather focus on the good things -- Covington's 221 yards and one touchdown passing, a 37-yard run for another score and a defense that limited Cheyney to 52 net yards -- because the weaknesses will be scrutinized once game films are examined.

"We've been aggressive coming off the ball," Mitchell said. "We've worked on it and talked about it. But we have to be pleased we won the game, so we're not going to harp on it."

What did bother him, though, were missed scoring chances. Until Covington finally hooked up with Vernon Satterwhite on a 27-yard touchdown pass late in the first half, the Bears were nursing a 5-0 lead, courtesy of a 36-yard Shane Griffiths field goal and a safety when Cheyney punter Kevin Harmon stepped out of the end zone.

Wesley Greene and Mike Gardner were stuffed on fourth down inside the 5, then Covington fumbled away another chance.

"We need to put points on the board," said Covington. "It's disappointing to get down there three times and not take it in. We've got to get hungrier down there, because that will make the difference in a lot of ballgames."

It didn't matter here, though, as Morgan finally cashed in a couple of second-half chances to break it open on Covington's fourth-down, 37-yard draw, then a perfectly executed screen pass from backup Justin Washington to Moses Cody.

Offense wasn't that much of an issue, as the Bears' defense made its mark.

"No question, the defense definitely stepped up," said Mitchell, whose Bears allowed four first downs and never let Cheyney farther than the Morgan 24. "We have a pretty good defense, and we rely on our defense. If we put them in a bad position, like we did a few times today, the defense can bail them out."

Next for Morgan

Opponent: South Carolina State

Record: 0-3

Site: Bulldog Stadium, Orangeburg, S.C.

When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Yesterday: Lost to Johnson C. Smith, 38-21

Pub Date: 9/29/96

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