Out of its league, Morgan denied by San Jose State

Bears fall to I-A Spartans, 47-28, despite solid 1st half

College Football

September 19, 2004|By Ron Bergman | Ron Bergman,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Morgan State took a step up in class yesterday and got hammered for it in a 47-28 loss at San Jose State.

The Division I-AA Bears (1-2) hung with the Division I-A Spartans (1-1) early and were tied 14-14 until late in the second quarter. Then the hosts took control, burying the Bears with 10 points in 55 seconds to all but seal the win.

"We knew we had our work cut out coming in here," said Morgan State coach Donald Hill-Eley. "The talent we saw here we won't see in our conference all year. I told the kids to take the man in front of you every week and compare him to who you played today. If nothing else, that should give you confidence when we go into the conference."

Jeff Carr put San Jose State ahead 17-14 with a 31-yard field goal with 3:44 left before halftime.

On Morgan State's first play from scrimmage following the kickoff, halfback Jason Jackson threw an interception on a trick play meant to be a forward pass to quarterback Bradshaw Littlejohn. The ball floated to safety Brian Nunez, who made a diving interception to set up the Spartans on the Bears' 44.

One play later, quarterback Adam Tafralis, who had replaced starter Dale Rogers, hooked up with wide receiver Casey Miranda for a 39-yard catch-and-run touchdown and a 24-14 lead.

"Our tight end missed a block and Jason told me he was hit when he threw," Littlejohn said. "He didn't get enough on it to get it out to me. I was open. I would have scored. That's the first time we've used that play this season."

The Spartans widened the gap to 31-14 on their second play from scrimmage in the second half when James Jones took a pass from Rogers behind the line and scampered to the end zone for a 67-yard touchdown.

"They took the momentum from our interception that we had on the halfback pass," Hill-Eley said.

The Bears came into the game determined to run. They threw 20 times and rushed 54, but their efforts were hampered when starting halfback Craig Nelson left the game with a foot injury in the first quarter.

"That's a big part of our team, the two-man backfield," Littlejohn said. "That hurt us without him back there."

Littlejohn, a former linebacker, had tied the game at 14 with 5:22 left in the first half on a 3-yard touchdown run that he had set up with a 51-yard carry earlier in the drive.

Littlejohn finished with 96 yards on the ground but only 30 through the air. He was 5-for-17 passing, with 20 of the 30 yards coming on a scoring toss to Tommy Manus in the first quarter.

"We found out we could come out and play against a Division I school," Littlejohn said. "We won't see that kind of talent in the MEAC."

Punter Earl Johnson had a rough afternoon. He dropped the center snap on the first series, giving San Jose State the ball on the Bears' 1 and setting up the Spartans' first touchdown.

He also fumbled the ball out of the end zone in the third quarter while being sacked, resulting in a safety.

Next for Morgan

Matchup: Hampton (3-0, 1-0) vs. Morgan State (1-2, 0-0)

Site: Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

When: Saturday, 4 p.m.

Radio: WEAA (88.9 FM)

Yesterday: Hampton beat Western Illinois, 40-20

Morgan St. 7 7 0 14 - 28

San Jose St. 7 17 16 7 - 47

First quarter SJ-Martin 1 run (Carr kick), 12:56 M-Manus 20 pass from Little (Keever kick), 2:54 Second quarter SJ-Thompson 18 run (Carr kick), 8:05 M-Littlejohn 3 run (Keever kick), 5:22 SJ-Carr 31 FG, 3:44 SJ-Miranda 39 pass from Tafralias (Carr kick), 2:49 Third quarter SJ-Jones 67 pass from Rogers (Carr kick), 14:03 SJ-Thompson 42 run (Carr kick), 9:08 SJ-safety, 6:53 Fourth quarter M-Littlejohn 10 run (Keever kick), 14:54 M-Jackson 42 run (Keever kick), 7:41 SJ-Rogers 1 run (Carr kick), 1:29 A-n/a.

M SJ

First downs 17 17

Rushes-yards 54-319 34-228

Passing 30 204

Comp-Att-Int 20-5-2 17-11-0

Return Yards 108 140

Punts-Avg. 5-41.4 4-41.5

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-3

Penalties-Yards 7-44 8-90

Time of Possession 34:52 25:08

Rushing: Morgan State, Jackson 28-125, Littlejohn, 14-96, Selby, 5-38, Nelson, 4-14, Sweat, 1-3, Johnson, 2-minus 15; San Jose, Thompson 20-158, Broussard, 4-41, Martin, 4-15, Hutsona, 2-2, Rogers, 4-minus 3. Passing: Morgan State, Littlejohn, 5-17-0-30, Selby, 0-2-1-0, Jackson, 0-1-1-0; San Jose, Rogers, 9-10-0-115, Tafralis, 3-7-0-89. Receiving: Morgan State, Dickens, 2-12, Manus, 1-20, Henson, 1-5, Jackson, 1-minus 7; San Jose, Jones, 4-102, Skillern, 2-38, Miranda, 1-39, Watje, 1-16, Robinson, 1-9, Broussard, 1-3, Martin, 1-minus 3.

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