Norfolk State tops Morgan in OT, 46-43 11-yard pass is winner, dropping Bears to 0-3

September 27, 1998|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

By the time the boiling sun began taking its toll on players early in the second quarter at Hughes Stadium yesterday, it became obvious that whoever had the ball last was probably going to win.

And that's exactly what happened when Baltimore-born RTC quarterback Maurice Selby hit Tyrone Sellers with an 11-yard touchdown pass in overtime to lift Norfolk State to a rousing 46-43 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory over Morgan State.

On a day in which each defense was retreating, Morgan (0-3, 0-2) could not stop Selby and the Spartans' receivers, and Norfolk State (2-2, 2-1) was unable to contain the Bears' running game.

Morgan at least pleased coach Stump Mitchell, two weeks after drawing his ire for untimely mistakes and penalties in an ugly loss to Bethune-Cookman.

"It was very heartbreaking to lose the way they did today," Mitchell said. "I can take a loss as long as my guys give the effort they did.

"This game really belongs to the officials and I don't mind getting a reprimand from the [MEAC] commissioner for saying it. When they review this film, they're going to feel bad about some of those calls."

After playing their best football of the season to seize a 17-0, first-quarter lead, the Bears struggled to force overtime.

But kicker K. C. Vasquez -- who had missed a 28-yard field-goal try that would have given Morgan a late touchdown lead -- connected on a school and MEAC record 55-yarder on the final play of regulation to tie the game at 40.

"I couldn't believe it," said Norfolk running back Angelo Todd. "I had to readjust my shoulder pads. I was all ready to go up in the stands with my family [to celebrate a victory]."

"That was just like we practiced it," Mitchell said of record kick. "He kicks them 55 all the time."

In overtime, the Spartans won the toss and elected to defend first from the 25-yard line.

A holding penalty wiped out a Donald Green-to-Anthony Collins touchdown pass and the Bears had to settle for a 34-yard field goal by Vasquez that hit the crossbar and plopped over.

Trailing 43-40, Norfolk answered with three straight runs by Todd, who played with a soft cast around a broken arm suffered in last week's win over Delaware State.

That took the ball to the Bears' 11, setting up the winning play.

Todd entered the game with a league-high 494 rushing yards and added 110 more on 27 carries despite the physical problem.

But it was Selby (Walbrook) picking apart the cornerbacks for 338 yards and five touchdowns that made it a long, hot day for the Bears' defense. Spartans running back William Smith also threw for a touchdown on the option play.

"I told these guys we had to have this one," said Selby, a junior. "Morgan didn't want me bad enough."

Morgan countered with a 172-yard rushing game by tailback Jay Hinton and 430 yards on the ground overall despite the absence of leading runner Ali Culpepper, who is out for an undetermined period with bone particles in his knee.

Next for Morgan

Opponent: South Carolina State

Site: O.C. Dawson

Stadium, Orangeburg, S.C.

When: Saturday, 6 p.m.

Record: 2-1

Yesterday: Beat Johnson C. Smith, 14-0.

Pub Date: 9/27/98

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