Coming off a massive upset, Morgan State returns home to battle South Carolina State on Homecoming in Baltimore, Saturday afternoon.
The Bears, fresh off a bye week, defeated top-5 ranked North Carolina A&T 16-13 back on September 22nd. Alex Raya’s third field goal of the day won the game as time expired for the Bears from 36 yards out. The Bears defense was fierce, holding A&T to just 208 yards of total offense. DeAndre Harris threw for 138 yards while adding 45 rushing yards and a score in the victory.
Speaking of the Aggies, South Carolina State fell to North Carolina A&T on Saturday in a 31-16 contest. The Bulldogs led 16-10 at halftime, hoping to be the second team in two weeks to pick up their first win of the year against the national ranked Aggies, but A&T dominated the second half. SCSU racked up less than 200 yards of total offense, falling to 0-4 this season.
This will be the 39th meeting all-time between the two sides. SCSU has dominated the all-time series, winning 31 of the 38 previous matchups. The Bulldogs have won ten of the last 11 meetings, but Morgan State won the last meeting in Baltimore back in 2014. The Bulldogs came away victorious last season with a 35-14 victory in Orangeburg.
This year’s contest is shaping up to be a defensive struggle based on the early season numbers. The Bears are putting up just over 15 points per game while SCSU has been held to just over a touchdown per game at a 7.2 average.
Ernest T. Jones’ offense, led by DeAndre Harris, is putting up just 238.5 yards of total offense per game. Not a team that looks to throw all that often, Harris has attempted under 20 throws per contest, throwing for 443 yards and two touchdowns this season. Harris has been effective with his legs, supplementing his passing numbers with 142 yards and two more scores on the ground. Joshua Chase and Jordan Riggins have received the brunt of the work from the backfield with Chase being the more effective back. Chase has picked up 194 yards and a touchdown. Manasseh Bailey is the leading receiver with eight receptions for 141 yards and both of the team’s receiving touchdowns this year.
Longtime Bulldog Head Coach Buddy Pough’s offense hasn’t gotten the wheels turning just yet this season. Even lower than the Bears 238.5, the Bulldogs offense is amassing just 229.8 yards of total offense per game. Dual threat QB, Tyrece Nick, is completing under 45 percent of his throws for 356 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, he has added another 259 yards and a touchdown. Datron James is the lead back, but has added just 104 yards on 39 carries for the Bulldogs. When the Bulldogs do go to the air, they look for big plays through De’mo Burroughs(23.67 per catch) and Quan Caldwell (31.67 per catch).
Defensively, the Bears have allowed 363.5 yards per contest and conceded 30 points per game to the opposition. Damare’ Whitaker has been strong for the Bears, leading the MEAC with 40 tackles in four games this season. Rico Kennedy is putting together another solid season with 24 tackles, six tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks this year. The Bears defense has kept the team in games by forcing 12 turnovers this season, nine interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Donte Small has been all over it in the secondary, intercepting four passes and breaking up another six.
SCSCU has struggled on that side of the ball as well, allowing over 470 yards of total offense per game and just over 30 points per game. Decobie Durant leads the Bulldogs with 23 tackles and an interception this season. The Bulldogs have forced a respectable eight turnovers in five games this year, with four picks and four recoveries. Lane Jones, Chris Adams and Alex Brown have also intercepted passes this season.
In danger of just the fourth losing season in the Buddy Pough era, South Carolina State will travel in hopes of picking up their first win of the season. Morgan State with a week of rest after their upset victory is in hopes of starting the first winning streak under Coach Jones.
TIME: Saturday, October 6th, 1 p.m.
WATCH LIVE: WBAL 11.2 MeTV, WACH 57.2 Stadium
ANNOUNCERS: Phil Schoener (play-by-play), Emory Hunt (analyst), Jeff Jezewski (sidelines)