Morgan falls to Gardner-Webb

QB Littlejohn plays well for Bears in 28-24 loss

College Football

September 01, 2002|By Michael Wilkins | Michael Wilkins,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - Morgan State was picked to finish last in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference under first-year coach Donald Hill-Eley.

Freshman quarterback Bradshaw Littlejohn's play in yesterday's 28-24 loss to Big South preseason favorite Gardner-Webb will have a lot of people rethinking that prediction.

Littlejohn, a transfer from Michigan State, completed 17 of 32 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Littlejohn had a potential game-winning pass dropped in the end zone by senior running back T.J. Stallings with under three minutes to play and the Bears trailing by four.

"Bradshaw is a good player," said Hill-Eley, who played the 6-foot-3, 258-pound Littlejohn in place of injured starter Lejominick Washington and watched as the freshman helped the Bears (0-1) roll up 466 yards of total offense. "Bradshaw was our No. 2 guy. We went to him as our signal-caller. He made some good plays. He did a great job."

Littlejohn, who grew up 12 miles from the Gardner-Webb campus in Gaffney, S.C., also had 115 yards rushing on 16 carries. His 42-yard touchdown pass to Stallings gave the Bears a 7-0 lead with 7:57 to play in the first quarter.

"It's a guessing game with him," said Bulldogs coach Steve Patton, whose decision to start two freshmen at cornerback was severely tested yesterday. "Even when we guessed right, he beat us some."

Gardner-Webb (1-0) took a 21-10 lead on Chris Foster's 1-yard touchdown plunge with 6:23 to play before halftime.

William Sherman took the ensuing kickoff 56 yards to the Gardner-Webb 44-yard line. On the next play, Sherman took advantage of those freshman corners for a 44-yard touchdown pass from Littlejohn.

The Bears failed to convert the extra point, but the Morgan State defense added a safety, swarming in to tackle Foster in the end zone to make the score 21-18 at halftime.

Gardner-Webb senior quarterback Jeremy Martin, who was 13 of 28 for 180 yards and two touchdowns, threw a 19-yard scoring pass to Jahmelas Bryan with 1:04 left in the third quarter to push the lead to 28-18.

On the Bears' second possession of the fourth quarter, Littlejohn guided the Bears on a six-play, 74-yard drive, capped by Stallings' 5-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to four with 7:43 to play.

On the Bears' next possession, Littlejohn drilled a pass on second-and-10 from the 18-yard line that was dropped by Stallings in the end zone. Junior linebacker Jim Maxwell sacked Littlejohn on the next play for a 10-yard loss.

Littlejohn's desperation pass on fourth down sailed out of the end zone with under two minutes to play, and Gardner-Webb ran out the clock.

Stallings finished with 10 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed six times for 32 yards with a score.

"That's the luck of the draw," said Hill-Eley. "That one drop ... Stallings is going to catch a lot more of those than he drops."

Morgan State 10 8 0 6 - 24

Gardner-Webb 7 14 7 0 - 28

First quarter MS-Stallings 42 pass from Littlejohn (Voroshilin kick), 7:57 GW-Pressley 7 run (Harmon kick), 3:08. MS-Voroshilin 38 field goal, :08. Second quarter GW-Bright 46 pass from Martin (Harmon kick), 14:19. GW-Foster 1 run (Harmon kick), 6:23. MS-Sherman 44 pass from Littlejohn (pass failed), 6:01. MS-Team safety, 5:43. Third quarter GW-Bryan 19 pass from Martin (Harmon kick), 1:04. Fourth quarter MS-Stallings 5 run (kick failed), 7:43.

Next for Morgan

Opponent:Towson

Site:Towson University Stadium

When:Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Record:0-0

Yesterday:Idle

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