S.C. State keeps Morgan winless Bears stay close until end, but 2 late TDs make it 21-0

October 04, 1998|By Ernie Trubiano | Ernie Trubiano,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

ORANGEBURG, S.C. -- Morgan State remains winless but is closing the gap.

South Carolina State shut out the Bears, 21-0, yesterday at Dawson-Bulldog Stadium in one of those closer-than-the-score-indicates games.

The Bulldogs (3-1, 1-0 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) scored just before halftime and carried an 8-0 margin down to the wire before adding two insurance touchdowns in the final 2: 49. The last one came as time expired after S.C. State took possession at Morgan's 32 when the Bears (0-4, 0-3) failed on a fourth-down pass.

"This is a tough loss," said running back Jay Hinton, who rushed 21 times for 58 yards. "I've never lost like this before, and it hurts. But we'll pick it up."

Hinton cited the Bears' lost opportunity on their opening drive as a factor in the loss. The Bears moved from their 35-yard line to the Bulldogs' 13 but lost the ball on an interception.

Linebacker Derrick Dingle intercepted at the 5 and returned the ball 43 yards down the left sideline. But Morgan State wide receiver Ralph Jones ran down Dingle, pulling the football out of his hands and heading in the opposite direction in a bizarre play.

But S.C. State held the Bears.

"That first series took something out of us at first," Hinton said. "But when Ralph Jones ran down the ball, it picked us up again."

Morgan coach Stump Mitchell added, "We needed something off that drive, even if it was a field goal."

Mitchell called S.C. State "the best team we've played this season."

"Our defense played well," Mitchell said. "I thought the game was a pretty good slugfest, two physical teams -- the way it should be. They got the turnovers."

In another lost opportunity in the second quarter, Morgan State advanced to the S.C. State 9-yard line. But again an interception -- this time by Clarence McCants in the end zone -- ended the threat.

S.C. State scored with 12 seconds left in the half to take an 8-0 lead.

All-MEAC safety Jermaine Derricott recovered a fumble, and S.C. State took possession at Morgan's 31 with 58 seconds left in the half. Four plays later, Derek O'Neal went off right guard for the touchdown.

The Bulldogs lined up for the point-after, but Derricott ran an end-around to the right side for the surprise two-point play.

Next for Morgan

Opponent: Buffalo

Site: U.B. Stadium, Buffalo, N.Y.

When: Saturday, 1: 30 p.m.

Record: 2-3

Yesterday: Lost to Cornell, 34-31.

Pub Date: 10/04/98

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