Morgan's final rally falls short in overtime vs. Howard, 42-35

TD after failed fake punt puts Bears behind late

College Football

October 17, 2004|By Matt Papuchis | Matt Papuchis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

WASHINGTON - With his team trailing by three points with less than two minutes to play, Morgan State quarterback Bradshaw Littlejohn marched his team down the field, helping set up Nathan Keever's 37-yard field goal with five seconds left to send the game into overtime.

After Howard scored a touchdown on its first possession in the extra period, Littlejohn needed to lead the Bears again, but this time Brian Johnson forced the ball out of his hands and Mike Sanders recovered, sealing a 42-35 Bison win before 9,804 at William H. Greene Stadium.

"This was one of those ones where it was a local rivalry and everyone's playing really hard because they want to win," Morgan coach Donald Hill-Eley said. "You have two teams close in proximity and kids who know each other and are going to the play until the last second."

In a game that went back and forth, with each team taking advantage of the other's miscues, the play that may have made the most difference occurred with three minutes remaining.

Leading 32-27, Morgan State (2-5, 1-3 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) was looking at fourth-and-three on its 39-yard line. Hill-Eley chose to try a fake punt that failed, giving Howard (4-2, 1-1) the ball deep in Morgan territory. Marcos Moreno (13 of 27 and two touchdowns) connected with Kevin Tyson for a 9-yard score, which gave Howard a three-point lead.

"It was one of those where if you execute you're the smartest guy in the world," Hill-Eley said of the decision to fake the punt. "We missed the linebacker and he ended up plunging inside, and that was the only guy who stopped the play."

Howard coach Rayford Petty said he was surprised by the decision.

Morgan State led 29-20 with 15 minutes to play and Howard was marching downfield and threatening to score, but Keion Gray intercepted Moreno's pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. The Bears went 76 yards on 14 plays in nine minutes before Keever's 36-yard field goal with 5:55 to play gave the Bears a 12-point lead before Howard staged its comeback.

Jason Jackson rushed for 168 yards and three touchdowns, but two key plays on special teams kept Morgan in the game.

First, Howard fumbled the opening kickoff, giving Morgan the ball at the Bison 35. The Bears needed just three plays before Jackson's 18-yard touchdown run - his first of three in the first half - gave the Bears the early lead.

Then, late in the second quarter, trailing 17-14, a snap over Howard punter Noam Dror's head gave Morgan the ball at the Bison 6, setting up another score by Jackson to give the Bears the lead.

The Bears' defense made its biggest stop with just under a minute to go in the first half. Littlejohn fumbled on the Morgan 5, giving the Bison possession deep in Bears territory. But the Morgan defense stopped Moreno on three straight passing attempts, and Howard kicked a field goal, allowing Morgan to keep its lead heading into the break.

Morgan State 7 14 8 6 0 - 35

Howard 14 6 0 15 7 - 42

First quarter M-J. Jackson 18 run (Keever kick), 13:44 H-Colbert 7 run (Brantley kick), 11:50 H-Moreno 1 run (Brantley kick), 2:13

Second quater H-Brantley 23 FG, 10:44 M-J. Jackson 2 run (Keever kick), 8:33 M-J. Jackson 6 run (Keever kick), 6:14 H-Brantley 23 FG, 0:35

Third quarter M-Littlejohn 32 run (Cash pass from Trotter), 6:54

Fourth quarter M-Keever 36 FG, 5:55 H-Duncan 5 pass from Moreno (Brantley kick), 4:35 H-Tyson 9 pass from Moreno (Brantley kick), 1:46 M-Keever 37 FG, 0:00

Overtime H-Moreno 4 run (Brantley kick) A-9,804.

M H

First downs 21 21

Rushes-yards 54-260 44-198

Passing 200 227

Comp-Att-Int 12-25-0 13-27-1

Return Yards 99 115

Punts-Avg. 3-22.3 2-41.5

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards 6-47 5-40

Time of Possession 48:26 26:34

Rushing: Morgan State, J. Jackson 33-171, Littlejohn 18-89, E. Johnson 1-0. Howard, Colbert 19-106, Rutherford 14-50, Moreno 10-42, Door 1-0.

Passing: Morgan State, Littlejohn 12-25-0. Howard, Moreno 13-27-1.

Receiving: Morgan State, Dickens 6-136, Manus 3-42, Cash 3-22. Howard, Williams 4-89, Lewis 4-67, Tyson 2-28, Duncan 2-20, Wilson 1-23.

Next for Morgan

Matchup: Delaware State (2-5, 2-1) vs. Morgan State (2-5, 1-3)

Site: Hughes Stadium

When: Saturday, 1 p.m.

Radio: WEAA (88.9 FM)

Yesterday: Delaware State beat North Carolina A&T, 15-6

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