Melton, defense spark Morgan in rout

Morgan State 32 North Carolina A&T 0

October 08, 2006|By Bill Kiser | Bill Kiser,Special to The Sun

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Morgan State quarterback Mario Melton finally got a chance to show off before his family and hometown friends.

Melton ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third and the Bears recorded their first shutout of the season in a 32-0 win over winless North Carolina A&T yesterday.

Morgan State (3-3, 2-1 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) won its second straight game behind Melton, who played high school ball in High Point, N.C., less than 20 miles from North Carolina A&T's Aggie Stadium.

The sophomore - named the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week last week - accounted for 211 of the Bears' 349 yards of total offense despite coming out early in the fourth quarter.

Melton threw for a season-high 168 yards on 9-for-20 passing and one score, a 12-yard touchdown pass to Rodrick Wolfe (Edmondson) with less than a minute left in the second quarter to put Morgan State up 18-0 at the half.

He added 43 rushing yards on six carries, which included third-quarter scoring runs of 1 and 5 yards in the Bears' most lopsided win over the Aggies (0-5, 0-2) since 1945.

"I've been looking forward to this game all week," said Melton, who had "about 30" family and friends watching yesterday.

"I was really excited and a little overwhelmed, and it was affecting the way I play. But I got a little talk from [offensive line coach Chennis] Berry about calming down, and that's when we started scoring the points."

The Bears had plenty of chances, too. They drove into Aggies territory nine times in 12 possessions and went 3-for-4 in red-zone scoring opportunities. In its first five games, Morgan reached the red zone just three times, converting twice.

Morgan State also got a season-best 38-yard field goal from Jonathan Skeete and a 1-yard touchdown run by Chad Simpson, who led the Bears with 62 rushing yards.

It also helped Melton's confidence that Morgan State's defense had its best game of the season in handing North Carolina A&T its first shutout since the 2000 season.

The Bears held the Aggies to 148 yards of total offense (a season low for Morgan's opponents), forced five turnovers (three on interceptions) and allowed the Aggies into Morgan territory just once in 12 possessions. They also forced a safety on a botched punt in the second quarter.

"It was a very good job by the Bears," Aggies coach Lee Fobbs Jr. said.

"They were very effective against our offense, and they did a fine job up front against us. We couldn't mount anything offensively. We had a few spotty plays here and there, but we couldn't get anything going consistently."

Melton became the Bears' starting quarterback after senior Byron Selby (Dunbar), the MEAC's leading passer in 2005 with 2,023 yards, injured the little finger on his right hand during a 26-7 loss to Hampton on Sept. 23.

Against Bethune-Cookman, Melton earned MEAC weekly honors with 239 yards of total offense, one touchdown run and a touchdown pass in a 28-14 win.

"He's pretty much revived us," Morgan State coach Donald Hill-Eley said. "His smile and energy has changed the whole persona of our offense.

"He has great pocket poise and a great delivery on the ball, but he also has the threat of running. That makes defenses have to change up the way they're going to scheme against him."

Morgan St. 0 18 14 0 - 32

N. Carolina A&T 0 0 0 0 - 0

Second quarter Morg-FG Skeete 38, 14:42. Morg-Simpson 1 run (run failed), 6:02. Morg-Safety, 1:41. Morg-Wolfe 12 pass from Melton (Skeete kick), :25.

Third quarter Morg-Melton 1 run (Skeete kick), 8:04. Morg-Melton 5 run (Skeete kick), 3:08. A-4,264.

Morg NCAT

First downs 15 8

Rushes-yards 44-181 28-63

Passing 168 85

Comp-Att-Int 9-20-0 7-20-3

Return Yards 28 17

Punts-Avg. 5-40.8 5-35.2

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 4-2

Penalties-Yards 10-114 12-124

Time of Possession 33:34 26:26

RUSHING-Morgan St., Simpson 17-62, Nelson 10-48, Melton 6-43, James 3-18, Jones 3-10, Thompkins 3-4, Glover 2-(minus 4). N. Carolina A&T, Ferguson 11-66, Miller 9-16, McNair 5-9, Campbell 1-3, Green 1-(minus 1), Team 1-(minus 30). PASSING-Morgan St., Melton 9-20-0-168. N. Carolina A&T, Campbell 5-16-2-74, Miller 2-4-1-11. RECEIVING-Morgan St., Wolfe 4-66, Baptiste 3-41, Surratt 1-54, Sykes 1-7. N. Carolina A&T, Walls 3-22, Caldwell 2-35, C.Dawson 2-28.

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