Big Win Sends Bears to the Playoffs

By Benjamin McKnight III

rp_primary_watchpartyIn 1979, Jimmy Carter was the president of the United States, McDonalds introduced the Happy Meal, and the late Aaliyah was born.

And until this past Saturday, November 23, 1979 was the last time that the Morgan State University football team was crowned the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champions.

The Bears entered the final game of the regular season needing wins from North Carolina Central and South Carolina State, as well as their own victory, to cause a bizarre five-way tie for the MEAC Championship and earn the conference’s automatic berth to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

Morgan had no issues handling their end of the deal, scoring 69 points for the first time since 1966 and cruising to a 69-7 victory over Delaware State University.

“Everything came together,” said Head Coach Lee Hull of his team’s dominant performance. “We’ve been talking about trying to play the perfect game all year long, and this time we did.”

The closest the Hornets got to the Bears was 14-7 in the first quarter, but never saw a chance to score again as Morgan State broke the game open and scored 55 unanswered points.

Redshirt-junior quarterback Moses Skillon threw for 261 yards and a five touchdowns, and added one more on the ground with a 34-yard quarterback keeper on the Bears first possession of the third quarter following an interception by senior Nathan Ayers. Fellow redshirt-junior receiver Andrew King was on the receiving end of three of those touchdowns, and sophomores Landen Malbrough and Ricky Fisk caught one apiece. Sophomore halfback Herb Walker Jr. added 133 yards on the ground and a touchdown.

“We knew all along that we [were] gonna come out here and get the job done,” said Skillon, who’s five passing touchdowns set a school record. Ayers, who caught two of the team’s three interceptions on the afternoon, added “It was a great week of preparation and it showed today. We always come out and try to play our best.”

The Bears’ only struggle during the game ensued with the officials, earning an uncharacteristic nine penalties in a very testy game in which Delaware State drew eight of their own. “We had a lot of penalties early in the season, but we lessened that later in the season,” said King. “It’s a little tougher with more penalties, but it is what it is.”

With the victory and playoff bid, the Bears go on to play University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia, on November 29. That game will mark Morgan State’s first appearance in the FCS Playoffs, as the MEAC became a Division I conference in 1980.

While seemingly outmatched on paper, the Bears believe that they can make a historic statement against the Spiders this Saturday. “We just gotta keep fighting and playing our game,” Skillon said.

Photos by MSU Athletics.

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