Morgan leaves Savannah State with blank look

Bears prevail, 26-0, for second straight win

College Football

October 14, 2001|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Homecoming was nothing short of a smashing success yesterday at Morgan State, but Bears coach Stanley Mitchell still found some things to fuss about.

The offense was a bit sluggish, the defense gave up too many rushing yards, and he said his team would certainly have to play better in the future for more wins.

This all came after a thorough 26-0 victory over Savannah State that not only gave the Bears (2-4) consecutive wins for the first time since the third game of the 1997 season, but also their first shutout since a 29-0 blanking of Cheyney in 1996.

In front of 14,801 at renovated Hughes Stadium, there was no big, extensive celebration after yesterday's win. It was clear the Bears had fully expected to turn an unfamiliar corner.

"This win right here is probably one of the biggest wins in the last few years at Morgan State because it definitely puts us back on the rise," said sophomore quarterback Lejominick Washington, who threw for 130 yards and one touchdown and added 79 rushing yards with a touchdown run from nine yards. "It's going to turn around our season and pretty much the whole program.

"When we lost a couple close games earlier, it was like, `Good game, good game or whatever,' but you don't want to hear that. ... People are still thinking of us as the same old Morgan State team, but it's a new era and it's our turn to take the stage."

In last week's 52-42 win over North Carolina A&T, when Washington threw for a school-record 551 yards and four touchdowns, it was the offense that played the starring role. The Morgan defense, which felt it didn't pull its weight despite the win, took its turn this time.

Freshman linebacker Kelvin Williams, who later would recover a fumble, set the tone with a fourth-down stop on the visiting Tigers' (1-4) first possession, holding running back Alvin Cummings ( 29 carries for 95 yards) to 1 yard when he needed 4 on the Bears' 23.

With the Bears already up 19-0 in the final minute of the second quarter, sophomore safety Justin Thomas ended another Savannah State drive with a diving interception at the Morgan 1 and then in the fourth quarter, it was senior Jamar Williams' turn to intercept a Mario Spencer pass in the end zone to help preserve the shutout.

"The offense saved us last week and now we felt it was our turn to repay them," Thomas said. "We had a shutout going from the fourth quarter [against North Carolina A&T] and we took time from that and said we were going to keep adding on to it. Now, it's up to 76 minutes and we want to keep it rolling."

The Bears' offense was hard-pressed to match last week's output, but efficient nonetheless. Junior tailback T.J. Stallings provided the speed with 94 yards rushing and senior Ali Culpepper, still recovering from a shoulder injury, had touchdown runs from 1 and 2 yards out.

The passing game was there when needed, particularly on the Bears' first scoring drive in the first quarter when Washington twice found senior wide-out Marc Lester underneath for 18- and 19-yard gains on third downs.

"Now, it's a confidence that we have in each other as an offensive unit," Washington said. "Each player knows what they have to do and knows that one-on-one, they can't be beat. That's just the mentality that we now go in with, so as a unit, when we come in, everything clicks."

The Bears had a 361-133 advantage in total yards and with the 19-0 halftime lead, the only question left for the second half was whether the shutout would stay intact.

"A win is a win and I don't care how you look at it - you can feel good about it," Mitchell said. "Hopefully, we can continue the winning, but we'll have to play a lot better than this next weekend."

Savannah State 0 0 0 0 - 0

Morgan State 6 13 0 7 - 26 First quarter MS-Culpepper 2 run (Vorosholin kick), 5:05. Second quarter MS-Washington 9 run (pass failed), 9:11. MS-Culpepper 1 run (Vorosholin kick), 3:52. Fourth quarter MS-Shancoe 8 pass from Washington (Vorosholin kick), 2:11. A-14,801

SS MS

First downs 13 21

Rushes-yards 43-96 48-231

Passing 37 130

Comp-Att-Int 2-11-1 10-19-1

Return Yards 164 37

Punts-Avg. 6-28.8 5-36.4

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 0-0

Penalties-Yards 7-147 5-48

Time of Possession 27:23 31:48

Rushing-Savannah State, Cummings 29-95, Williams 7-4, Spencer 7-(-3). Morgan State, Stallings 20-94, Washington 13-79, Culpepper 10-41, Walters 4-10, Pena 1-7. Passing-Savannah State, Spencer 2-11-1-37. Morgan State, Washington 10-18-1-130, Pena 0-1-0-0. Receiving-Savannah State, Moore 2-37. Morgan State, Lester 4-56, Walters 2-57, Stallings 2-9, Shancoe 1-8, Culpepper 1-0.

Next for Morgan

Opponent: Delaware State

Site: Alumni Stadium, Dover, Del.

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Record: 1-4

Yesterday: Idle

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