Both coming off big losses, Morgan State will host Bethune-Cookman in a MEAC matchup on Saturday at 4 p.m. in Baltimore.
The Bears return back home after a tough trip to Florida culminating in a 38-3 loss to Florida A&M. Morgan State sits at 2-6 on the season and 1-3 in the MEAC after the defeat. Bethune-Cookman stays on the road after traveling to Nebraska for a mid-season matchup with the FBS foe. The Wildcats dropped to 4-5 with the 45-9 loss to the Cornhuskers.
The Bears gained 299 yards in the loss, adding just three points on a 4th quarter Alex Raya field goal. DJ Golatt got a crack at the quarterback position for Morgan State, coming on in relief of DeAndre Harris, throwing for 148 yards. Corey Holmes led the team with five receptions for 66 yards. Bethune-Cookman allowed 28 1st quarter points and 38 1st half points in the defeat, scoring their lone touchdown as time expired.
The offense continues to struggle for the Bears under Ernest T. Jones, scoring just 15.6 points per game and amassing 280.6 yards per game. DeAndre Harris has been the starter at quarterback for the Bears, completing 51 percent of his throws for 944 yards and five touchdowns. In his limited time, Golatt has completed 18 of 33 passes for 156 yards and a pick this season. Three different backs have at least 55 carries for the Bears, led by Josh Chase’s 104 totes for 356 yards. Chase has rushed for two touchdowns and averages just over 50 yards rushing per game. A Notre Dame transfer, Holmes has come on in recent weeks, leading the team with 23 receptions for 275 yards and a score. Mannasseh Bailey has struggled with injuries this year, but is up to 199 yards and two touchdowns on the year after a five reception, 54 yard performance against FAMU. With the lone points scored on his field goal, Raya is now eight-for-11 on the season.
Bethune-Cookman’s offense has been strong in 2018, scoring 29.8 points per game even with the nine point outing versus Nebraska. The Wildcats average 364.2 yards per game on the season. The attack is led by Akevious Williams, completing 63 percent of his throws for 1,435 yards and 12 passing touchdowns. A true dual-threat, Williams has leads the team with 347 rushing yards and an additional eight scores. Isaac Washington and Tupac Isme are the lead backs, each carrying the ball at least 67 times for 332 and 255 yards respectively. Williams spreads the ball, completing at least 18 passes to five different receivers. Keavon Mitchell is the leader with 32 catches for 397 yards and five touchdown receptions. Jimmie Robinson has found the end-zone five times for the Wildcats.
A talented defense, Morgan State’s group struggled a bit on Saturday against a very good FAMU bunch. The Bears allow 28 points per game after back-to-back big offensive outputs from the opposition. Damare’ Whitaker continues to put up numbers, leading the team with 68 tackles and three tackles for loss. Two-time MEAC Defensive Player of the Week, Ian McBorrough has been a big-time playmaker for the defense. McBorrough has 54 tackles, seven tackles for loss, five sacks. Add in two fumbles forced, a fumble recovery and an interception and you have one of the most productive defensive players in the conference. After an outstanding 2017, Rico Kennedy has added another seven tackles for a loss. Donte’ Small leads a defense that has been able to force turnovers, picking off four passes of the team’s 12.
Bethune-Cookman has struggled defensively this season, allowing opponents to score nearly 33 points per game, giving some hope to a struggling Bears offense. Marques Ford has been a consistent presence in the backfield, picking up nine tackles for loss and seven sacks. The Wildcats have forced 16 turnovers this season, with an outstanding six different players picking off multiple passes. Marquis Hendrix is one of the players with two picks and leads the team with 56 tackles and five tackles for loss. Devin James has added 54 tackles and has blocked two kicks.
Each team has three contests remaining with Bethune-Cookman facing off with MEAC leader Florida A&M to finish their season. Morgan State has one more home game with Delaware State next weekend (also on STN) and finishes the season on the road at Norfolk State. In last year’s matchup, Bethune-Cookman’s offense rolled to a 41-28 victory in Florida. Mitchell was one of five players to catch a touchdown in that game for the Wildcats. Dating back to 2009, Bethue-Cookman has won six straight in the series.
TIME: Saturday, Nov 3rd, 4 p.m.
WATCH LIVE: WBAL 11.2 Me TV, WPHL 17 My Network, WHP 21.2 My Network, WPNT 22 The Point, WJAC 6.2 Me TV, ENN+
ANNOUNCERS: Geoff Arnold (play-by-play), Varun Raghupathi (analyst), Ryan Piers (sidelines)