MSU (2-5, 2-1 MEAC) vs. Howard (2-5, 1-3 MEAC)
Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013 – 1 p.m. ET
The Bears (2-5, 2-1) will travel to play in a Mid-Eastern Conference matchup against Howard on Saturday (Oct. 26) in Washington (D.C.). The game will mark Homecoming for Howard. Interim head coach Rayford Petty leads the Bison. Howard (2-5, 1-3) snapped a 4-game losing streak by beating Florida A&M 21-10 in Tallahassee last Saturday. The Bears posted its second straight win by recording a 34-22 victory at North Carolina Central during the Eagles Homecoming. Donald Hill-Eley, ranked third among winning coaches at MSU, enters his 12th year as head coach of the Bears. Game time at Greene Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.
THE BEARS-BISON MATCHUP
• The Bears and Bison will meet for the 67th time … Morgan State leads the series 40-25-1.
• Last time against the Bison (Oct. 20, 2012) … Terrence Leffall ran for a game-high 134 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries to help Howard escape with a 21-20 homecoming victory over Morgan State at Greene Stadium. MSU QB Robert Council capped an 89 yard drive by eluding a sack and racing 35 yards for a touchdown. On the ensuing point after attempt that would have tied the ballgame, the snap was low and placekicker Earvin Gonzalez scooped it off the turf and tried to make a play by throwing the ball. His pass was intercepted by Howard’s Tabrian Resby. Game over.
• The last time the Bears defeated Howard was on Sept. 24, 2011 … The Bears posted a 14-9 win against Howard at the New York Urban League Football Classic in front of 24,996 fans in attendance … Redshirt-freshman Robert Council threw the first touchdown of his career when he connected with tight end Kristian Johnson for a 3-yard score. Council led the Bears by completing 12 of 18 passes for 119 yards. Travis “Juice” Davidson rushed for 142 yards on 25 carries and scored three touchdowns on runs of 49, 2 and 8 yards.
ABOUT THE BISON
• Rayford “Ray” Petty (Elon, 1979) Petty enters his second campaign as head football coach of the Howard
University Bison. The highly respected Petty served as head coach of the Bison from 2002-06. He also served as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator here under head coach Gary Harrell.Prior to Howard, Petty served as defensive coordinator at both Delaware State and Norfolk State. He has helped develop current NFL players Antoine Bethea (currently with the Indianapolis Colts) and Ronald Bartell, Jr. (currently with the Detroit Lions).
• Howard returns 29 lettermen, including 11 starters from last year’s team.
• In 2012, Howard finished with a 6-4 overall record and 5-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
• Junior QB Greg McGee triggers the Bison offense and ranks 2nd among the league passing leaders this season. The 6-3, 200-pounder from Pittsburgh (Pa.) has completed 134 of 222 for 1342 yards and 10 touchdowns with seven interceptions. He has also ranks No. 9 in the MEAC in rushing with 318 yards on 79 carries (4.0 avg) with a touchdown. McGee will enter this weekend’s “Beltway Battle” fresh off a a career-low 67 yards passing despite completing 10 of 16 in the win against Florida A&M.
• Through the first seven games, RB William Parker (6-0, 203) has been the Bison’s leading ground gainer and is among the league’s rushing leaders (Ranked 5th). The sophomore from Stone Mountain, Ga. has recorded 93 carries for 389 yards (4.2 avg), including two TDs.
• MSU’s defense will have to also account for freshman RB Anthony Philyaw. The Los Angeles product went to work against the Rattlers by recording a career-high 121 yards on 14 carries, including a pair of touchdowns. Philyaw, 6-1, 210, is Howard’s third leading ground gainer with 262 yards (4.4 avg) and three TDs in six games.
• MSU’s offense will have to account for the Bison’s defensive end Damon Chisholm-Gresham. The 6-3, 250 pound sophomore currently ranks among the league leaders with 9 tackles for loss, (ranks 4th) and 3.5 sacks (ranks T-6th).
• MSU will enter the 2013 season with a number of veterans … the Bears’ roster includes 12 seniors and 15 juniors.
• The Bears backfield lost All-MEAC running back Travis “Juice” Davidson to graduation, however the backfield is loaded with talented young players like Lamont Brown III, Herb Walker, Tracy Martin and Orlando Johnson who will compete for the starting RB spot.
• The returning quarterback duo of Seth Higgins and Robert Council combined for 1,560 passing yards (140-of-301) and five touchdowns in 2012.
• Joe Rankin returns as a shutdown cornerback for the Bears and finished with 46 tackles and led the MEAC with five picks in 2012.
• NT Demarco Bisbee leads a defensive line unit that returns 10 lettermen from last season … Bisbee posted 41 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and
3.5 sacks in 2012.
• LB Christopher Robinson was among the league leaders with 13.5 tackles for loss (No. 4), to go along with 40 tackles and 8.5 sacks.
• Chris Flowers helped lead the Bears to a No. 1 ranking in the MEAC in kickoff return average (23.0 avg) and his 27.8 kick return average ranked No. 8 in the FCS last season.
• The Bears added four new coaches to the 2013 staff … the new coaches are: Jerry Holmes (DC), Greg Gregory (OC), LeAndre Creamer (DB) and Marcus Gladden (OL).
IMPROVING OFFENSE … The aftermath of the Bears 34-22 win at N.C. Central not only improved the team’s record to 2-5, but also gave a glimpse of Morgan State’s improving offense. The team produced a season-high 385 yards of offense against the Eagles, and junior QB Seth Higgins led the way. On 9 carries, Higgins, rushed for a career-high 55 yards and accounted for a pair of touchdowns. With Higgins running so well, the Bears should continue to see success with the read-option moving forward.
TIME IS ON OUR SIDE … The Bears notched their fourth game of the season with a time of possession of more than 40 minutes. The Bears held a season-high 41:01 – 28:48 advantage in the win at NCCU. The Bears currently rank among the league leaders ranked No. 1 in the MEAC in time of possession (32:01 avg/g).
FINISHING TOUCHES … Morgan State has been pretty good this season when it comes to scoring in the red zone. Through the first six games, the Bears have scored 18-of-22 (82%) times inside its opponent’s 20 yardline. MSU ranks No. 5 in the MEAC in red zone scoring.
GETTING DEFENSIVE … The Morgan State defense has eight players with at least 20 tackles so far this season.
• Junior linebacker Cody Acker leads the way with 62 stops (10th in MEAC), including a season-high 14 tackles against Norfolk State (Sept. 28).
• The next highest is senior Darien Irby who has posted 35 tackles from his starting strong safety position.
NO SACKS FOR YOU … Since allowing 6.0 sacks against Robert Morris, the Morgan State offensive line has allowed just two sacks over the next five games and had a stretch of three games without allowing sack before giving up a sack at North Carolina Central last Saturday. The Bears currently rank T-No. 2 in the MEAC by limiting opponents to 11 sacks in seven games.
HIGGINS STANDS TALL IN QB CAROUSEL … With Robert Council, Moses Skillon and Ricky Fisk jockeying for additional playing time, Seth Higgins appears to be the lone starter for the Bears. The junior played the entire game against Norfolk State and accounted for three touchdowns. He led the Bears to its first win of the season against Florida A&M by completing 12 of 20 passes for 144 yds and a TD. He also rushed for a career-high 102 yards on 17 carries, including a 2-yard TD. Higgins rushed for 55 yards and a TD at N.C. Central, and threw for 72 yards, including a 27-yd TD pass in just a half of work last week at N.C. Central.
COLLECTING INTERCEPTIONS … The Bears have recorded 10 interceptions through seven games. CB Joe Rankin and S Paul Eatman have a pair of picks, while SSPeterson Janvier, CB DeShaun Summers, and LBs Bill Hill and Cody Acker each have an interception to their credit. MSU’s defense currently ranks No. 7 in the FCS (No. 2 in the MEAC) and ranks No. 3 in pass defense by limiting opponents to 154.3 yards per game.