Morgan, Towson U. renew rivalry tonight Local teams will meet for 1st time since 1994

game televised by Ch. 2

September 03, 1998|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

Morgan State and Towson University are eager for the start of the 1998 season, with its possibilities of redemption after dismal 1997 records of 3-7 and 2-8, respectively.

For one of the teams, the healing will begin at 8 tonight (televised by Channel 2) when they play each other at Towson's Minnegan Stadium.

"I'm so anxious to get that first game under our belts and see what kind of team we have," said Towson coach Gordy Combs.

Of course, the battle also is one between two Baltimore-area teams meeting for the first time since 1994, in a series that Towson leads 8-3.

"Anytime you play someone you haven't played in four years -- plus the fact that [Morgan State coach] Stump [Mitchell] took over right after we last played -- it's a hit or miss situation," Combs said.

Said Mitchell: "We don't know much about Towson, so what we && have to do is take care of the fundamental parts of football. I think we're going to do that."

Towson cornerback Jabari Garrett said: "We're excited because most of the people on our team know at least one player from Morgan.

"From the very first day, we were ready for Morgan. We hadn't been on TV since 1983, so we feel lucky. It's a big step for our program."

The rivalry can be a positive for both teams, which might be tempted to look past the first game to tough conference battles ahead, namely Morgan State's game against Norfolk State on Sept. 26 and Towson's battle with Colgate on Sept. 19.

"In the past, I think we looked into the future," Towson quarterback Kevin Smith said. "You can't forget that Colgate's coming in here the third week of the season, but we have to focus as much as we can on Morgan State."

Stopping junior running back Jason Corle will be Morgan State's primary task. Corle gained 1,075 yards and caught 51 passes for 390 yards for Towson last season.

"He's their whole offense. If they're not running the ball to him, they're passing the ball to him," Morgan State safety Warner Herndon said. "That's who we're going to focus on, especially when he goes out for passes. We're just going to be on him."

Towson also features a quarterback in Smith who has heaved the ball as many as 57 times in a game, and an emerging wide receiver, sophomore Adam Overbey, who led the team in receiving yardage as a freshman.

What Towson knows of Morgan is its offensive line of Sidney Brown, Archie Glass, Kary Brown, Claron Etherly and Clinton Burns, together for a third season.

"You know they're going to run the football because of the big hogs up front," Garrett said. "We've got a lot of different defenses put in just for that."

At running back, Mitchell will use a pair of transfers from Division I-A in Dunbar's Ali Culpepper (Syracuse) and Jay Hinton (Arizona).

At quarterback, both Donald Green and Willie McGirt struggled last year, and Mitchell has maintained that both will play this season.

Mitchell said he's confident in the ability of his offensive line to control the Towson defensive line -- ends Eric Erhardt and Andrew Hollingsworth, nose guard Dannie Ross and tackle Jason Birdwell, despite the experience they've had playing together.

"I think our guys are going to be better than theirs -- it's that simple," Mitchell said. "My guys have been playing together for three years, and I think my guys are primed for this game."

Pub Date: 9/03/98

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