Morgan State Bears fall to South Carolina State; five takeaways from the game

by Blair Young, Sports Editor

The Morgan State Bears football team falls to (0-5) with a loss to the South Carolina State Bulldogs, in a game that featured a season’s worth of unorthodox plays. They lost 35-14 after giving up the lead in the third quarter. Here are five lessons learned from Friday night’s game.

First lead of the year. The first half of the game came with another possible advantage for the team. They took a 10-7 lead after a field goal in the second quarter. The defense added points for themselves with two safeties in the third to extend the lead to 14-7. That would be the most they would lead by, because the Bulldogs would tie the game in the end of the third quarter.

Crazy third quarter. The third quarter may go down in college football history. It featured two safeties that came on two botched punts by S.C. State. The Bears had a chance for a touchdown on a blocked punt but could not corral the ball for the score. The Bulldogs also threw an interception, on a great play by Morgan cornerback Manassah Bailey. The mistakes also came on Morgan’s side, with two fumbles lost and a field goal blocked, all in the third quarter.

Turnover trouble continues. Once again the Bears lost the turnover battle, this time giving up a season high six turnovers. The offense continues to struggle to find a rhythm, and the turnovers seem to come at the worst time. One fumble was lost by wide receiver Torrance Little, as he tried to fight for extra yards to reach the endzone. Another interception, thrown by quarterback Elijah Staley, was returned for a touchdown that extended the lead to 28-14. The Bulldogs solidified their win with interception by defending Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Darius Leonard.

Tale of two defenses. The defense gave up a opening drive touchdown in the first quarter, but dominated the game until the fourth quarter. They forced the S.C. State offense into nine punts in only three quarters, dominating field position for most of the game. They also forced two turnovers, but the offense wasn’t able to capitalize on them. The defensive line kept the pressure on the Bulldogs quarterback forcing him to a 40 percent completion percentage. The biggest play for the defense came on a sack fumble that was picked up and returned by Morgan for a touchdown in the third quarter.The play was overturned due to an inadvertent whistle according to the referees, and the momentum after that shifted S.C. State.

Things were not all positive for the defense. They continue to give up big plays on the ground, with opposing running back Trey Samuel, gouging them for 153 yards and three touchdowns. He provided the final blow to the defense with an 89-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to make it 35-14. The defense seemed to either stuff Samuel in the backfield for a loss, or give up a huge play. He also had runs of 44,15, and even another 80-yard play that was called back due to penalty.

Very special teams. One of few bright spots from this game was the play of the special team units. Both kicking units and return teams had great games and were the main reason they won the field position battle. The team blocked two punts, and had pressure on almost every other attempt. The return team also contributed with two big plays of 26 and 36 yards, setting up the offense in a good position. Kicker Luke Uransel made his second kick of the year with a 22-yard field goal in the second quarter. He did later have a kick blocked on a 43-yard attempt, but had a good game punting, including a booming 54 yarder.

 

Looking Forward. The Bears fall to (0-2) in the MEAC conference, and head into the homecoming game versus Savannah State looking for their first win of the season. They have six conference games left including three at home. The game is on Oct 14, at 1 p.m. in Hughes Stadium. They defeated Savannah last season 35-24 to finish the year, after the game was rescheduled due to a hurricane.

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