Morgan is rattled again by Florida A&M, 42-13 Mistakes ruin homecoming for Bears' Mitchell, Green

November 02, 1997|By SPECIAL TO THE SUN

KINGSLAND, Ga. -- It wasn't the best of homecomings for Morgan State coach Stump Mitchell or Bears backup quarterback Donald Green.

Mitchell's Bears faced Florida A&M at the coach's high school stomping grounds, Camden County High's Gilman Stadium, and Green, also a Kingsland native, threw an interception as Florida A&M rolled to a 42-13 victory yesterday.

The loss wasn't nearly as bad as the 83-12 thumping the Rattlers gave the Bears last season, but it was still disheartening for Mitchell.

"Turnovers just killed us," said Mitchell, whose team's turnovers accounted for 19 of the Rattlers' 22 first-half points. "They all came at crucial times too. If we don't make the four turnovers we made, who knows what could have happened?"

pTC Indeed, the 22-0 halftime lead for Florida A&M (6-2, 3-2 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) could have been far less if not for the squandered opportunities by the Bears (3-5, 2-3).

The early mistakes included a first-quarter fumble on the Rattlers' 15 with the score just 3-0. In the fourth quarter, A&M's Vernon Mitchell intercepted Green's pass with 12: 27 left and returned it for a touchdown, making it 35-13.

"I think the turning point of the game was that interception," said Florida A&M coach Billy Joe. "We were very happy to get a win, because at certain points in the game it could have gone either way."

Green, who took about 90 percent of the snaps for the Bears, had gotten his team on the board with a 6-yard touchdown run, capping an eight-play, 60-yard drive to open the second half.

Florida A&M came back 2: 54 later on a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jacque Nunnally from Oteman Sampson, making it 28-7.

The Bears pulled to 28-13 when Green took it in from the 1-yard line. But Florida A&M put the game away with two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

"At the point where our program is right now, I'm very proud of my kids," said Mitchell, whose high school jersey was retired at halftime. "We just don't have the numbers a team like Florida A&M has. But we'll still be working to that point."

Besides his two touchdowns, Green finished the game 6-for-19 for 86 yards.

Morgan State also got an outstanding performance from Fred Jenkins, who ran for 104 yards on 13 carries, including a 46-yarder. However it wasn't enough against Rattlers quarterback Sampson, who threw for 322 yards on 16-for-30 passing.

"We were definitely happy to get of here alive," said Joe, who team put up 470 total yards and bettered their 32 points-per-game average.

"We knew they would be tough after looking at the film. They play extremely hard. We were fortunate to get a win today."

Next for Morgan

Opponent: Howard

Site: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

When: Nov. 15, 6 p.m.

Record: 5-3

8, Yesterday: Defeated Norfolk State, 32-24

Pub Date: 11/02/97

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