Morgan one-ups Hicks in 52-42 win

N.C. A&T back sets Div. I mark: 418 yards

College Football

October 07, 2001|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Morgan State survived a record-breaking performance by North Carolina A&T running back Maurice Hicks, using an offensive breakout of its own to record a 52-42 victory over the Aggies last night at Hughes Stadium.

Hicks, a senior, broke the Division I single-game rushing record with 416 yards, surpassing the record of 409 yards set by Cal State-Sacramento's Charles Roberts in 1999.

But it was the Bears' (1-4, 1-3 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) offense that had the final say, scoring the most points in a game since 1982 and ending a nine-game losing streak.

Without Ali Culpepper, the MEAC's leading rusher, who has a shoulder injury, Morgan State quarterback Lejo Washington helped the Bears dominate an Aggies defense that had allowed 2.3 points a game going into last night's matchup.

Washington passed for 461 yards and tied a school record with four touchdowns. His two rushing scores in the final quarter helped the Bears overcome a 14-point deficit.

A 3-yard run by Washington with 7:39 remaining in the game gave Morgan its first lead at 46-42. The Aggies had turned the ball over on downs, and Morgan went 57 yards in eight plays, capped by a 1-yard sneak by Washington on fourth down.

"I'm surprised with how we stepped up," said Morgan coach Stanley Mitchell, whose team gained 495 yards against the Aggies. "We changed our offensive scheme to fit [North Carolina A&T] and we caught them by surprise. Once we got rolling, we felt we could score on them."

North Carolina A&T felt the same about the Bears' defense, accumulating 480 yards as Hicks, the MEAC's preseason Offensive Player of the Year, broke his school record of 353 yards set last season against South Carolina State. Hicks eclipsed the national record with a 9-yard run with just under six minutes remaining. After that play, he left the game and didn't return because of exhaustion.

The Bears trailed 35-21 in the third quarter before a 4-yard run by Washington and 4-yard pass from him to Marc Lester (10 receptions, 97 yards) brought Morgan to 35-34 with 2:51 remaining in the peiod.

Hicks gave the Aggies (4-1, 1-1) a 42-34 lead on a 52-yard run with 1:14 remaining in the quarter. Washington kept picking apart the Aggies' secondary, tossing a 47-yard pass to William Sherman.

"They had a great game plan," said North Carolina A&T coach Bill Hayes. "They executed and everything fell into placed for them."

The Aggies had taken a 35-21 lead when Curtis Deloatch stepped in front of a Washington pass at the N.C. A&T 2 and returned the ball 98 yards.

But Washington quickly atoned for his mistake, guiding the Bears 65 yards in just five plays, finishing with a 4-yard option run.

NC A&T 7 7 28 0 - 7

MSU 7 6 21 18 - 54

Next for Morgan

Opponent: Savannah State

Site: Hughes Stadium

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Record: 1-3

Yesterday: Lost to Norfolk State, 27-18

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