Simpson, Bears run to .500 with win

Transfer's 192 yards ground Norfolk State

Morgan State 29 Norfolk State 20

November 05, 2006|By BJ Koubaroulis | BJ Koubaroulis,Special to the Sun

NORFOLK, Va. -- Morgan State running back Chad Simpson warmed to the challenge of leading his team to victory yesterday.

The transfer from the University of South Florida had a career-high 192 yards and two touchdowns to pace the Bears to a 29-20 victory over Norfolk State before 15,501 at Price Stadium.

"You figure, at this point in the season, everyone is playing for character and respect, especially this young man playing away from home," Morgan State coach Donald Hill-Eley said of Simpson.

The 5-foot-10, 205-pound junior accounted for 113 of Morgan State's 177 yards of total offense in the second half to help the Bears score 22 unanswered points and rally from a 14-7 halftime deficit.

"That's why I came here -- to get in the cold. So if I ever make it, they can say, `He played in all types of atmospheres,' " said Simpson, who missed Morgan State's single-game rushing record (229 yards, Ali Culpepper vs. Hampton, 2001) by 37 yards.

"We wanted to go out winning the last two games of the season. It's just a little overview of next year, what the MEAC's going to get next year," said Simpson, who was making his fourth start.

Morgan State (5-5, 4-3 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) stopped a two-game skid and handed Norfolk State (3-6, 1-6) its fifth consecutive loss. Morgan also played homecoming spoiler in a game that featured 10 fumbles and three interceptions.

"We turned the ball over too many times. Too many miscues," said Hill-Eley, whose offense lost two fumbles and watched quarterback Mario Melton (8-for-16, 72 yards) throw an interception with 3:42 left in the first half.

Morgan State cornerback Dakota Bracey took teammate Kofi Nkrumah's forced fumble back 22 yards to set up Simpson's second touchdown, a 15-yard run that gave Morgan State a 27-14 lead with 4:31 left in the third quarter.

"Our defense has been playing well all year and today they played well enough to buy some time for our offense," Hill-Eley said.

Morgan State's defense, which entered the game ranked third in the MEAC in points allowed (20.1), allowed 113 yards of offense, recovered three fumbles, intercepted a pass, recorded a safety, and stuffed a late two-point conversion attempt in the second half after allowing 14 points on 136 yards of offense in the first half.

"I just blew past the guy and made the safety," said Morgan State defensive tackle Robert Armstrong, who dropped quarterback Casey Hansen (18-for-32, 198 yards) for a 29-14 lead with 9:11 left in the fourth quarter.

Armstrong also recorded three of the Bears' four sacks for a loss of 18 yards, and teammate Darius Leak had a team-high 11 tackles.

"It puts us at .500 with a chance to go 6-4 and we play South Carolina State [4-4, 3-2] at home at night, so it's looking pretty good," said Armstrong of next week's 6 p.m. meeting.

Morgan State 7 0 20 2--29

Norfolk State 7 7 0 6--20

First quarter MS--Simpson 6 run (Skeete kick), 7:57. NS--D.Jones 18 pass from Hansen (Gomez kick), 1:09.

Second quarter NS--D.Jones 5 run (Gomez kick), 1:24.

Third quarter MS--Nelson 5 run (kick blocked), 12:32. MS--Ethridge 3 pass from Melton (Skeete kick), 6:52. MS--Simpson 15 run (Skeete kick), 4:31.

Fourth quarter MS--Safety, Hansen sacked in end zone, 9:11. NS--Callaham 59 pass from Hansen (pass failed), 5:18. A--15,501.

Morgan Norfolk

First downs 19 13

Rushes-yards 48-260 26-51

Passing 72 198

Comp-Att-Int 8-16-1 18-32-2

Return Yards 20 47

Punts-Avg. 4-39.3 3-43.3

Fumbles-Lost 4-2 6-3

Penalties-Yards 8-65 10-90

Time of Possession 32:44 27:16 Rushing--Morgan State, Simpson 26-192, Nelson 13-62, Melton 8-9, Team 1-(minus 3). Norfolk State, D.Jones 11-41, Anthony 7-36, Branche 4-(minus 3), Hansen 4-(minus 23). Passing--Morgan State, Melton 8-16-1-72. Norfolk State, Hansen 18-32-2-198. Receiving--Morgan State, Wolfe 3-43, Baptiste 1-9, Surret 1-7, Custis 1-6, White 1-4, Ethridge 1-3. Norfolk State, E.Henry 4-52, Callaham 3-72, D.Jones 3-38, Allen 3-8, Sammons 2-16, D.Baker 2-5, Anthony 1-7.

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