Morgan State routed in season finale

South Carolina State 41 Morgan State 16

November 12, 2006|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Sun reporter

It wasn't as painful as last year's 50-point loss on the road, but Morgan State was again outclassed in another season-ending loss to South Carolina State.

The Bears bungled their way to a 41-16 loss to the Bulldogs at Hughes Stadium last night. Morgan State committed five turnovers - two in the span of three first-quarter touches - and had a pair of ignominious season highs. The defense surrendered 419 yards and the Bears were flagged for 13 penalties, one for having 12 men on the field.

That frequently fuzzy focus frustrated coach Donald Hill-Eley, whose fifth season on Hillen Road ended at 5-6, 4-4 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, after the loss in the Harlow Fullwood Classic.

"Any time you commit five turnovers against a bad team, you're going to lose, so we can't do that against a team as good as them," Hill-Eley said. "We're still dealing with young minds. When you set a goal to win a championship and that doesn't work out, you have to bounce back and recommit. I'm very disappointed."

DeShawn Baker, the MEAC's leading rusher, gained 117 yards on just 16 carries for S.C. State (6-4, 5-2), which beat Morgan State for the 23rd time in 24 tries since 1979.

The Bears had three seasons in one, winning three straight in between a 1-3 start and a 1-3 finish.

The midseason winning streak came with sophomore Mario Melton at quarterback. He took over when Byron Selby, a junior out of Dunbar High, broke a knuckle on his throwing hand in the fourth game. Melton threw three of the Bears' four interceptions last night. Selby started the second half and produced the first Morgan State touchdown, a 29-yard pass to Rodrick Wolfe that made it 20-10.

"They took turns throwing the ball to the other team," Hill-Eley said of his quarterbacks.

Designs on the Bears' first winning season since 2003 began well enough.

One of nine players honored on Senior Night delivered on the second snap of the game, as Kaleem Frazier, who entered the program as a walk-on out of Fallston High, made the first catch of his college career a fine 41-yarder.

That highlighted a crisp, nine-play scoring drive, but Morgan State's offense ran just two more plays the rest of the quarter and never got beyond its 41-yard line in the remainder of the half.

The offense was one-third of a collective letdown.

On S.C. State's first possession, the top rushing defense in the MEAC was pushed around on a 68-yard touchdown drive that put the Bulldogs ahead for good. The special teams blundered on the ensuing kickoff when Courtney Anderson lost a fumble. Six plays later, Baker made it 14-3 on a 3-yard run.

"After their first touchdown, that fumble took the air out of our team," Hill-Eley said.

Two plays after that, Melton threw high and was intercepted, leading to a Bulldogs field goal.

S.C. State added a field goal in the second quarter, then drove 80 and 20 yards for touchdowns in the third quarter. Cleveland McCoy connected with Oliver Young for a 54-yard catch and run that made it 41-10 with 13:39 remaining.

Melton threw a 51-yard strike to Wolfe to set up the second Morgan State touchdown.

"We figured it was going to be a street fight," Morgan State senior linebacker Darius Leak said. "We didn't think they were going to jump on us like that."

S. Carolina St. 17 3 14 7-41

Morgan State 3 0 7 6 -16

First quarter Morg-FG Skeete 22, 9:39. SCSt-Ford 4 run (Gaston kick), 5:46. SCSt-D.Baker 3 run (Gaston kick), 3:32. SCSt-FG Gaston 37, :13.

Second quarter SCSt-FG Gaston 21, 3:24.

Third quarter Morg-Wolfe 29 pass from Selby (Skeete kick), 7:42. SCSt-D.Baker 5 pass from McCoy (Gaston kick), 4:53. SCSt-Ford 8 run (Gaston kick), 1:04.

Fourth quarter SCSt-O.Young 54 pass from McCoy (Gaston kick), 13:39. Morg-Simpson 3 run (pass failed), 10:04. A-2,876.

SCSt Morg

First downs 23 13

Rushes-yards 43-213 33-77

Passing 206 198

Comp-Att-Int 12-19-0 10-20-4

Return Yards 70 25

Punts-Avg. 4-33.8 3-38.0

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-1

Penalties-Yards 11-79 13-89

Time of Possession 32:09 27:51 Rushing-S. Carolina St., D.Baker 16-117, Ford 17-74, Dubose 1-16, O.Young 1-15, Jamison 5-2, T.McFadden 1-(minus 4), McCoy 2-(minus 7). Morgan St., Simpson 12-35, Cr.Nelson 10-33, Selby 6-6, Melton 5-3. Passing-S. Carolina St., McCoy 12-19-0-206. Morgan St., Melton 6-14-3-146, Selby 4-6-1-52. Receiving-S. Carolina St., K.King 5-113, Burgess 3-20, D.Baker 2-14, O.Young 1-54, Ford 1-5. Morgan St., Wolfe 4-95, Cr.Nelson 2-15, Frazier 1-41, R.Sykes 1-34, Ethridge 1-10, Custis 1-3.

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