Down 25-0, Morgan forces OT, but falls

N.C. A&T 40 Morgan State 33

College football

October 09, 2005|By JEFF SEIDEL | JEFF SEIDEL,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LANDOVER -- When Morgan State coach Donald Hill-Eley stepped to the podium after yesterday's game with North Carolina A&T, the frustrated look on his face said it all.

Hill-Eley had good reason to feel exasperated. The Bears had done so many things well, like gaining 454 yards on offense and coming back from a 25-point, first-quarter deficit. But they kept making the mistakes that have haunted them all season, miscues that helped their opponent pull out a 40-33 overtime victory in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game before 11,500 at FedEx Field.

Morgan State (1-5, 0-3) again had defensive problems, showing itself unable to stop Aggies running back Brandon Sweeney, who ran for 205 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winner on a 3-yard run in overtime.

The Bears also couldn't find an answer to wide receiver Brandon Trusty, who caught five passes and completed one on an option play for 62 yards, in addition to returning a punt 88 yards for a touchdown,

But what particularly upset Hill-Eley is the way Morgan kept missing tackles and blocks. Sweeney and Trusty both repeatedly faked out or slipped through Bears defenders for more yardage.

"Right now, we're not doing the basic, elementary stuff in football; it's downright bad," Hill-Eley said. "We're not blocking and tackling. We have a lot of work to do."

His team's overtime performance also frustrated Hill-Eley. Morgan won the toss and deferred to North Carolina A&T (3-3, 2-1). The Bears had held the Aggies to eight points in three-plus quarters after they jumped out to a 25-0 lead in the first period. But the Aggies marched right in, and Sweeney scored on the 3-yard run.

Morgan then was its own worst enemy. The Bears were hit with two penalties and a low snap in the shotgun left quarterback Byron Selby facing a fourth-and-34 from the 50.

"I call it bonehead mistakes," Hill-Eley said. "We're just beating ourselves up."

The comeback was the best thing the Bears could take from the game.

Trusty threw his long pass on the game's first play, setting up quarterback Rico Watkins' 3-yard scoring run. Trusty then scored on his punt return and Sweeney had touchdown runs of 12 and 16 yards to help the Aggies take the 25-0 lead with 3:31 left in the quarter.

But Selby sparked Morgan's rally. He completed 12 of 34 passes for 144 yards and ran for 55 yards and two touchdowns, including a 23-yard scoring run as the Bears tied the game at 33 with 1:58 left, forcing overtime. The Aggies also helped by missing three extra points and two field goals.

"We showed that we had heart and fight," Selby said.

The Bears cut their deficit to 25-18 at halftime and tied the game when Jason Jackson broke free for a 74-yard touchdown on the second play of the second half. However, Jackson aggravated a hamstring injury on the play and didn't return after rushing for 150 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

Sweeney scored on a 3-yard run on the next drive, and Trusty ran for the 2-point conversion after a high snap forced him to take off. That gave the Aggies a 33-25 lead, which they held until Selby's late scoring run.

"We just don't have everyone working on all cylinders," Hill-Eley said. "But we will, and things will eventually come together."

Yesterday

State

Bowie State 13, Elizabeth City State 8 Gettysburg 20, McDaniel 17 Johns Hopkins 19, Franklin & Marshall 7 Maryland 38, Temple 7 Navy 27, Air Force 24 North Carolina A&T 40, Morgan State 33, 2OT Towson 23, Rhode Island 14 Wesley 35, Frostburg State 10

East

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