Bethune-Cookman boots Morgan

Controversial onside kick costs winless Bears, 28-25

College Football

September 12, 1999|By Dan Ryan | Dan Ryan,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Everything Morgan State did right for the first 25 minutes of the second half was washed away in seven seconds.

A freak onside kick backfired on the Bears and allowed Bethune-Cookman to preserve a 28-25 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory before 6,529 at Municipal Stadium yesterday.

Morgan State (0-2) closed to 21-19 on Willie McGirt's 17-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Collins. The momentum was short-lived however, as Curtis Williams took the onside kick on the bounce and went through a hole in the Bears' coverage for an easy 45-yard touchdown.

Here's the clincher: Morgan State coach Stanley Mitchell said kicker K.C. Vasquez decided on his own to try the onside kick.

"He caught us totally off-guard. No one knew but him what he was going to do," Mitchell said. "I'd never let it happen. You had one kid trying to do too much on his own."

Vasquez, however, said he didn't make the decision.

"It was coach's call," he told reporters.

Bethune-Cookman (2-0) expected an onside attempt.

"We saw them do it against Bucknell [last week] on the films," said Bethune-Cookman coach Alvin Wyatt. "I thought they would try something."

Williams had planned to fall on the ball, but he saw the hole and took advantage.

"The bounce was perfect," said Williams. "I figured I might as well get as many yards as I can."

Morgan was still in the game, however. One drive was thwarted by Bethune-Cookman's Rashean Mathis on an end-zone interception, but McGirt finished a solid effort by connecting with Armand Walters on a 6-yard TD pass with 45 seconds remaining. But Williams again recovered the onside kick to preserve the victory.

The Bears penetrated the Wildcat red zone six times, but two turnovers and one defensive stand by the Bethune-Cookman defense kept Morgan State at bay.

"We had our opportunities, but mistakes killed us," Mitchell said."

It was all Wildcats in the first half. Jay Rogers rushed for 88 yards and two touchdowns, and Pa'Tell Troutman added another to build a 21-6 halftime lead.

Morgan State struck first when McGirt hit Collins on a 51-yarder four minutes into the game.

Next for Morgan

Opponent: South Carolina State

Site: Hughes Stadium

When: Saturday, 1: 30 p.m.

Record: 2-0

Yesterday: Beat Benedict, 26-23

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