ORANGEBURG, S.C. -- As close as some of Morgan State's losses this year have been, coach Donald Hill-Eley will enter the offseason knowing his team failed to attain a winning record.
Yesterday, the Bears fell, 28-21, to South Carolina State in overtime in a game that knocked the Bears to 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
It's the third consecutive year Morgan State has finished below .500 and the eighth time in the past 10 years.
Still, Hill-Eley wasn't bitter or openly upset after the loss.
"For it to come down to an overtime game, it's one of those things where we have to come back and continue to work at it," he said.
"It's some things, like not hurting ourselves - like getting penalties at a bad time or turnovers. We need to find a way to not contribute to our loss," he said.
The Bears committed 11 penalties for 98 yards.
While they managed to force an overtime period, the game ended when quarterback Byron Selby's pass on fourth-and-nine was intercepted, leaving a South Carolina State receiver's spectacular, one-handed catch as the only score of the extra period.
Pinning the loss squarely on Selby, though, would be unfair.
Morgan State trailed 21-0 until Selby connected with freshman Devan James for a 31-yard touchdown with three seconds left in the first half.
It was one of the Bears' only highlights before halftime.
To that point, the game appeared headed for a replay of last year's matchup, when South Carolina State left Hughes Stadium with a 41-16 victory.
Bulldogs quarterback Cleveland McCoy led the first-half charge with rushing touchdowns of 19 and 61 yards, as well as a 16-yard touchdown pass.
"We know South Carolina State is a powerful team," Selby said.
"If you slip up, they could easily put up 50 or 60 [points] on you," Selby said.
What finally stopped the bleeding was Selby and the rest of the offense keeping S.C. State (6-4, 5-2) off the field.
Tailback Chad Simpson finished the game with 28 carries for 131 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.
The Bears' defense helped itself out when it picked off McCoy twice in the final quarter.
The second interception lead to Simpson's game-tying score.
But McCoy rebounded and hit receiver Terrance Smith in overtime.
After Selby's interception, Hill-Eley wasn't ready to think about entering another offseason with a losing record.
"The thing about it," Hill-Eley said, "they showed a lot of zest and zeal getting back into the game."
Morgan State 0 7 0 14 0 - 21
S. Carolina State 14 7 0 0 7 - 28
First quarter SCS-DuBose 16 pass from McCoy (Grantham kick), 11:02. SCS-McCoy 19 run (Grantham kick), 6:20.
Second quarter SCS-McCoy 61 run (Grantham kick), :58. MS-James 31 pass from Selby (Meade kick), :03.
Fourth quarter MS-Simpson 2 run (Meade kick), 14:08. MS-Simpson 18 run (Meade kick), 2:28. Overtime SCS-Smith 17 pass from McCoy (Grantham kick). A-7,712.
First downs 20 15
Rushes-yards 52-121 39-175
Passing 184 74
Comp-Att-Int 16-27-1 7-15-2
Return Yards 24 3
Punts-Avg. 6-34.7 3-48.3
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards 11-98 8-42
Time of Possession 30:00 30:00 Rushing-Morgan State: Simpson 28-131, James 7-7, Selby 13-(minus 2), Portee 2-(minus 4), Melton 2-(minus 11). S. Carolina State: McCoy 13-99, Ford 21-77, DuBose 1-6, Long 1-5, Capers 1-(minus 2), Woods 1-(minus 2), O.Young 1-(minus 8). Passing-Morgan State: Selby 14-22-1-163, Melton 2-4-0-21, J.Wilson 0-1-0-0. S. Carolina State: McCoy 7-14-2-74, Long 0-1-0-0. Receiving-Morgan State: Surratt 4-44, Simpson 3-58, James 3-40, Baptiste 2-15, J.Wilson 2-12, T.White 1-8, R.Sykes 1-7. S. Carolina State: DuBose 3-39, Smith 1-17, Miller 1-12, Washington 1-3, Woods 1-3.