SAVANNAH, Ga. - For Morgan State to post back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 20 years, coach Donald Hill-Eley needed some spice in his offense.
So he ordered a taco.
Wide receiver Tommie Manus, known to his teammates as "Taco," posted his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game yesterday, leading the Bears (5-4) to a 45-14 victory over Savannah State (0-9) at Theodore A. Wright Stadium.
The junior college transfer caught 12 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he spread Savannah State's defense for a pair of Morgan State running backs.
Shifty speedster William DeShazo rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns and bruiser Antoine Elder added 90 yards and two scores.
"Once you get one thing working, it opens up the other," Hill-Eley said.
Manus' presence changes defensive strategies. He stands 6 feet 6 and can outrun many defensive backs. He wasn't much of a factor in Morgan's first seven games after coming into preseason camp late. He missed all of the two-a-day practices while finishing his junior college work.
But he has played a key role during the Bears' three-game winning streak.
"I finally feel like I'm back and in shape and can contribute to this team," he said. "The intensity level is going up."
And so is the Bears' offense. Morgan State totaled a season-high 482 yards against Savannah State.
Junior Bradshaw Littlejohn completed 12 of 25 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown. LeJominick Washington, who has split time with Littlejohn all season, played four series and scored a late touchdown.
"Who's hotter is who plays," Hill-Eley said of the Bears' quarterback situation. "Littlejohn had it going, so we stuck with him."
Littlejohn helped Morgan State open a 21-0 lead.
But Savannah State's decision to switch quarterbacks late in the second quarter changed the game. Sophomore Clyde Tullis replaced senior Mario Spencer and moved the Tigers inside Morgan State's 20-yard line.
That drive stalled, however, and place-kicker Kyle McCrery missed a 30-yard field-goal attempt. The Tigers scored on their next possession, though, with Tullis throwing a 27-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Harris to cut Morgan State's lead to 21-7.
The Bears' offense never faltered. DeShazo scored a touchdown in the closing seconds of the first half to make it 28-7.
And after Savannah State went 80 yards for a score on its first possession of the second half, Morgan State answered with a field goal.
DeShazo sealed the game early in the fourth quarter with a 3-yard run for a 38-14 lead.
The victory puts Morgan State a win away from its goal of posting back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since the 1971 and 1972 seasons.
"This pushes us one game closer," Hill-Eley said. "We have to keep working, though."
Next for Morgan
Matchup: Maine (5-4) vs. Morgan State (5-4)
Site: Hughes Stadium
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Radio: WEAA (88.9 FM)
Yesterday: Maine lost to Delaware, 24-21, in overtime.