Morgan maintains tight grip to take home 33-12 victory

In reversal, Bears commit no turnovers, force five to romp past Howard

College Football

October 19, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

This time, it was Morgan State's turn to play take-away.

After spending the early part of the season committing costly turnovers that led to deflating losses, the Bears played their most opportunistic football of the season yesterday, forcing five turnovers and blocking three kicks in a 33-12 win over Howard.

On a day when a season-high 14,576 fans -- just 225 shy of a school record -- packed Hughes Stadium for homecoming, Morgan rewarded them by scoring 30 unanswered points.

"We had always been the team giving up the turnovers until this week," Morgan coach Donald Hill-Eley said.

Said cornerback Thomas Potts: "We've been trying to not depend on our offense, and win the game ourselves by stopping them and creating turnovers."

Potts played a major role in helping the Bears (3-4, 2-4 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) to do just that.

First, Potts blocked a 25-yard field-goal attempt by Vaughn Waters with 2:39 left in the first quarter, helping the Bears keep a 3-0 lead. Then with 5:34 left in the game, he returned an interception 83 yards for the game-sealing touchdown.

It was the second win in three games for the Bears, who are vying for their second straight winning season after having none since 1979.

Morgan State, which entered with a minus-3 turnover ratio, intercepted four passes and recovered a fumble.

Offensively, led by quarterback Bradshaw Littlejohn (13 carries, 89 yards) and tailback Craig Nelson (23 carries, 78 yards), the Bears racked up 202 yards rushing, and didn't commit a single turnover.

Just as important, after giving up 182 passing yards in the first half, Morgan allowed just 23 the rest of the way, keeping Howard scoreless for the final 36:25.

"We knew that they had been running the ball [a lot], but while we were trying to stop the run, they were dinking us with the passes," Hill-Eley said. "Once we put in some coverages for the pass, we were able to get a couple interceptions."

Howard quarterback Marcos Moreno completed nine of his first 10 passes, driving the Bison (2-4, 0-2) 71 yards on 13 plays, capped by a high-arcing 26-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Brewer down the sideline early in the second quarter.

Brewer caught seven passes for 133 yards in the first half alone.

Morgan blocked the extra point, keeping the score 6-3.

Howard extended its lead minutes later on a nearly identical 27-yard pass to Brewer up the middle, but couldn't complete the two-point pass.

The Bears then used a 28-yard field goal by Jonathan Voroshilin to cut into the lead before using a big play near the end of the half to take it away.

After holding Howard to three-and-out, the Bears' Antoine Elder blocked Shaun Miller's punt at the 7, and teammate Earl Johnson recovered in the end zone to put Morgan on top, 13-12.

"We found out they were playing with a backup long snapper," Hill-Eley said. "We wanted to see if their second guy was just as good as the first guy, so we challenged their punt team."

Littlejohn scored on a pair of 1-yard keepers to extend Morgan's lead to 26-12.

Players said they were inspired by a pep talk given by Memory Wright, a 98-year-old alumnus, who played on Morgan's 1926 and 1927 teams.

"The guys bought into him," Hill-Eley said. "He ate with us, he came back and gave us the prayer this morning before we came out and it was just a powerful experience."

Howard 0 12 0 0 -- 12

Morgan State 3 10 6 14 -- 33

First quarter MS--Voroshilin 24 FG, 7:00 Second quarter H--Brewer 26 pass from Moreno (kick blocked), 10:55 H--Brewer 27 pass from Moreno (pass failed), 6:26 MS--Voroshilin 28 FG, 1:40 MS--Johnson 18 blocked punt return (Voroshilin kick), :33 Third quarter MS--Littlejohn 1 run (run failed), 12:57 Fourth quarter MS--Littlejohn 1 run (Voroshilin kick), 7:37 MS--Potts 83 interception return (Voroshilin kick), 5:34 A--14,576.

H MS

First downs 15 19

Rushes-yards 25-69 52-202

Passing 205 96

Comp-Att-Int 17-34-4 8-21-0

Return yards 60 97

Punts-Avg 6-30.0 4-35.0

Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0

Penalties-Yards 4-49 7-39

Time of possession 25:32 34:28

Rushing--Howard, Rutherford 20-66, Venters 2-9, Moreno 3-(-6). Morgan State, Littlejohn 13-89, Nelson 23-78, Pena 2-16, Washington 7-9, Elder 1-4, Hughley 3-4, Sweat 3-2. Passing--Howard, Moreno 14-23-2-187, Venters 3-11-2-18. Morgan State, Littlejohn 7-15-0-88, Washington 1-5-0-8, Pena 0-1-0-0. Receiving--Howard, Brewer 10-149, Buck 2-27, Miller 2-21, Nunn 2-7, Tyson 1-1. Morgan State, Manus 3-48, Henson 2-20, Nelson 1-16, Roache 1-10, Napper 1-2.

Next for Morgan

Matchup: Morgan State (3-4, 2-4) vs. Delaware State (0-6, 0-3)

Site: Alumni Stadium, Dover, Del.

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Radio: WEAA (88.9 FM)

Yesterday: Delaware State did not play.

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