Morgan State quarterback Delonte Williams had already thrown three interceptions, two of which resulted in Delaware State touchdowns, when he calmly walked into the huddle with just over three minutes left in the game. Williams said that even though the Bears were down by three, they'd be just fine.
The redshirt freshman then directed an 85-yard drive, capped by his 34-yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Hendrix with 20 seconds left. Sheldon Jacques added another touchdown on a 2-yard fumble return as time ran out to give Morgan State a 34-24 victory in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game Saturday before an announced 14,312 at Hughes Stadium.
Morgan State coach Donald Hill-Eley liked how his team overcame adversity on the last drive.
"They showed a lot of savvy," Hill-Eley said. "Fourth-and-10], get a first down, constantly moving the ball and then to be able to make that throw and catch at the end — it was just remarkable."
Williams became the team's starter before its previous game and earned MEAC Rookie of the Week honors after leading Morgan State (4-3, 3-1) over North Carolina A&T. In this game, he completed 11 of 18 for 167 yards with two touchdowns and the three interceptions, plus 69 yards rushing.
Williams was trying to avoid a sack early in the second quarter by flinging the ball to his right, but he threw it right to Matt Spicer of Delaware State, who scored easily from 9 yards out. Williams then got hit in the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter, and the ball popped right to Hornets lineman Darrell Brown for an easy touchdown.
That tied the game, and Mario Diaz-Aviles gave Delaware State (1-6, 1-3) a 24-21 lead on a 32-yard field goal with 8:22 remaining. The Bears had given up 17 straight points but got the ball back with 3:04 left on their own 15-yard line. That's when Williams gave his offense a quick talk.
"I just told them all they had to do was block and we were going to win this game," Williams said. "I said, 'Let's go — we can do this.' "
They stumbled at first and faced a fourth-and-10 from the 15. Williams then hit Winifred Diggs with a short pass, and he faked out a Delaware State player for a 13-yard gain.
Three plays later, Williams slipped away from a sack and found Chris Flowers for 23 yards. The quarterback followed that by floating his 34-yard touchdown pass to Hendrix near the right sideline.
"We had confidence in ourselves on the last drive, and we pushed ourselves," Hendrix said. "It was up and down today, [a] roller-coaster. It was hard to stay focused. But if you stay focused, we'll win."
The Bears forced five turnovers in the first half and six overall but scored just 14 points off them. Morgan State wound up helping the Hornets with four turnovers of its own, including a fumble at the Delaware State 1-yard line.
The Bears had only seven points off turnovers until Justin Young sacked Delaware State quarterback Anthony Glaud at the 2-yard line two plays after the Hendrix touchdown. Glaud fumbled, and Jacques picked up the loose ball and scored as time ran out.
"That's why you have to play for every snap that's required in a football game," Delaware State coach Al Lavan said. "We made a lot of plays, but we simply did not make the plays when it was necessary to make them at the very end on both sides of the ball. "