Morgan-Howard has a little extra

Bears seek breakthrough at homecoming

State Notebook

College Football

October 14, 2005|By MATT PAPUCHIS | MATT PAPUCHIS,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It's a series that dates to 1889. It's a game that needs no added hype, given the history of the rivalry along with the proximity of the schools. But this year's edition of the Morgan State-Howard game carries even more significance than usual, and it's something neither school is proud of.

Both the Bears (1-5, 0-3 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) and the Bison (3-2, 0-2) are winless in conference play and are the bottom dwellers in the MEAC along with Norfolk State - a team that has only three conference wins in the past four seasons.

However, this weekend will bring an end to the drought for either Morgan or Howard. Bears coach Donald Hill-Eley is confident his team can recover from last week's overtime loss to North Carolina A&T and avenge last year's overtime defeat by Howard. The fact that it's Morgan's homecoming adds to the interest.

"Anytime you can take two teams within close proximity, plus the homecoming element, it's always good for motivation," Hill-Eley said. "We're both seeking our first conference win, so just as sure as we'll be gunning, they'll be gunning, too."

Towson standouts

Since Towson has been fighting its way toward respectability this season, coach Gordy Combs could be too preoccupied to appreciate what he has: two of the top offensive players in the Atlantic 10 - and they're both underclassmen.

Sophomore running back Nick Williams, whom Combs wanted to redshirt last season, but couldn't because of injuries to other backs, is leading one of the most productive ground games the Tigers (4-2, 2-2, A-10) have had in years. The Calvert Hall alumnus is averaging more than 93 rushing yards a game, good for fourth in the conference.

One of his biggest games came last year in the season finale against James Madison when he rushed for more than 100 yards against the eventual Division I-AA national champion. Now, Williams is on pace to become Towson's first 1,000-yard rusher since Noah Read in 2000.

"He's a very tough runner and he's deceivingly faster than a lot of people realize," Combs said. "He's a long threat anytime he touches the ball. He complements our offense extremely well."

The other part of the equation is freshman quarterback Sean Schaefer, who was named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive week. Schaefer is fourth in the conference in passing.

Et cetera

Johns Hopkins coach Jim Margraff, whose Blue Jays are 5-0 and ranked No. 18 in Division III, can record his 100th career win tonight at home against Gettysburg.

After a week off, Salisbury quarterback Travis Peters, who replaced Dustin Johnson and led the Sea Gulls (4-1) to a school-record 77-13 win over Newport News Apprentice School two weeks ago, will get his chance to repeat that performance this week against Buffalo State (2-2), which was also idle last week.

Bowie State's Isaac Redman continues to dazzle both the Bulldogs' coaching staff and his opponents. His 210-yard performance last week in a win over Elizabeth City State broke the school's single-game record, which he set earlier this year with 209 yards against Morgan. He now has 791 rushing yards for 5-2 Bowie.

Frostburg's Dan Nice was named the Atlantic Central Football Conference's Co-Defensive Player of the Week after a career-high 11 tackles in Saturday's 35-10 loss to Wesley. Nice's performance was the one positive for the Bobcats (2-3), whose offensive woes continue.

After dropping its first game of the season, McDaniel (4-1) was knocked out of the Division III Top 25 earlier this week. The Green Terror still leads the Centennial Cnference in scoring with an average of 29.2 points per game.

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