Morgan State (3-4, 2-2 MEAC) continues the 2012 season play in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup against Delaware State on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET at Hughes Stadium. The Hornets enter the 2012 season under the leadership of second-year head coach Kermit Blount. The Hornets (4-2, 3-1) are coming off a 24-0 shutout win at North Carolina A&T. The Bears fell short in the final moments at Howard 21-20 in Greene Stadium. This week’s game will be broadcast to a national audience by ESPNU.
THE BEARS-HORNETS MATCHUP
• The Bears and Bison will meet for the 55th time since 1945. Morgan leads the series 31-23.
• Morgan State did what they had to do on a dreary, windy and rain-soaked day for the Hornet’s Homecoming. They protected a slim lead, played solid defense and ran the ball. Tracy Martin ran for a game-high 154 yards on 38 carries and scored the only points of the game, helping the Bears grind out a 12-0 victory over Delaware State. The Bears played smash-mouth football throughout most of the ballgame and simply dominated the time of possession (39:53 – 20:07) — recording their first shutout since October 7, 2006.
• The last time the Hornets were in Hughes Stadium was on Oct. 23, 2010 … Redshirt freshman QB Delonte Williams led Morgan State on a comeback drive with under a minute remaining in the game. Williams had three interceptions – two of them returned for touchdowns – and was sacked three times. But he also led the Bears on an 8-play, 85 yard drive and threw a 34 yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Hendrix with 20 seconds on the clock. Sheldon Jacques added a two yard fumble return for a touchdown as the Bears came away with a climatic 34-24 win over the Hornets on Saturday at Hughes Stadium before an announced Homecoming crowd of 14,312 fans.
• The last time Morgan State lost to the Hornets was on Oct. 24, 2009 at Alumni Stadium … Delaware State posted 35 points against MSU, who entered the game as the No. 1 scoring defense in the MEAC, limiting teams to an average of 14 points per game. Anthony Glaud threw two touchdown passes in his return to the lineup and the Hornets intercepted three passes, one returned for a touchdown in a 35-22 victory on Saturday afternoon during DSU’s Homecoming. The loss snapped the Bears’ 5-game winning streak, the school’s longest in 30 years.
• MSU head coach Donald Hill-Eley holds a 6-4 record against Delaware State since 2002.
• Travis Davidson currently leads the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in rushing with 723 yards (103.3 avg/g). He also ranks No. 1 the MEAC in scoring (72 Pts).
• QB Robert Council came off the bench against Howard and completed 11-of-20 passes for 131 yards and broke a 35-yard touchdown run.
• Cornerback Joe Rankin registered his 9th interception of his career, picking off Savannah State quarterback Antonio Bostic in the 1st quarter…He currently leads the MEAC in INTs with four in six games…he currently ranks No. 5 in the FCS in passes defended (6 breakups and 4 INTs).
• The MSU defense has collected 10 interceptions (No. 2 in the MEAC) through the first seven games of 2012.
• The Bears continue to be among the top scoring offenses in the league, entering Saturday’s contest as the MEAC’s No. 4 ranked scoring offense (25.1 avg/g).
• True freshman LB Elandon Roberts currently ranks No. 6 in the MEAC in tackles by posting 60 tackles so far this season … he recorded a season-high 14 tackles against N.C A&T and was named Rookie of the Week.
• Earvin Gonzalez currently ranks No. 1 in the MEAC and tied for No. 9 in the FCS by connecting on 10-of-15 field goals and is a perfect 20-of-20 on PATs and booted a career-high 47-yard field goal against N.C. Central.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR THIS WEEK
• The Bears posting its third straight victory against the Hornets.
• The Bears scoring 20 or more points against Delaware State for the fifth consecutive game.
• The Bears having a 300-yard passing game for the first time since October 8, 2011. In Week 6, Morgan State defeated Savannah State 44-17 and Seth Higgins, Nate Furrha and Robert Council combined for 16-of-26 passes for 318 yards and five TDs.
• Cornerback Joe Rankin registering an interception would mark his fifth of the season and the 10th of his career. He would need to collect six more to surpass Joe Fowlkes for the school record. Fowlkes posted 15 INTs during his career (1975-78).
• Running back Travis Davidson rushing for 100 yards or more for the eighth time in his career.
• The Bears recording their 11th interception.
• Wide receiver Andrew King registering the third touchdown of his career.
• QB Robert Council has not thrown an interception since a win versus Howard on Sept. 24, 2011 … He completed 12 of 18 passes and was picked off by DL Corey Berry. He’s thrown 110 passes without an interception.
As a result of his 104-yard performance at Howard, Travis Davidson currently has 1,455 yards and has moved past James Fields for the No. 11 spot on the school’s all-time rushing list. He needs 56 more yards to surpass TJ Stallings (1,510 yds) for the No. 10 spot.
MSU vs. DELAWARE STATE FLASHBACK
• Oct. 25, 2003 – Morgan State head coach Donald Hill-Eley and the Bears defeated the Delaware State 53-36 in a game played at Hughes Stadium. The Bears finished the season with a 6-5 record and won four of its last five games.
DELAWARE STATE THUMBNAILS
• In 2011, Delaware State finished with a 2-8 overall record and were 1-7 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
• Senior QB Nick Elko leads the Hornets on offense this season. The 6-2, 210-pounder from Odenton (Md.) is the league’s leading passer (ranks No. 22 in FCS). He has completed 146 of 239 for 1,548 yards and seven touchdowns with three interceptions. He has also ranks No. 5 in pass efficiency (122.6).
• Travis Tarpley and Justin Wilson are the primary threats in Delaware State’s aerial attack. Tarpley, a 5-7 senior from Danville (Va.), currently leads the league with 48 receptions for 585 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile Wilson, a 6-1, 175 pound senior from Windsor (Conn.) also ranks among the league leaders with 32 receptions for 390 yards and three TDs.
• Through the first seven games, RB Dae-Hon Cheung (5-10, 165) has been the leading rusher in the Hornets’ pass happy offense. The freshman from Coatesville (Pa.) has recorded 52 carries for 251 yards (4.7 avg), including a pair of TDs. He posted 43 yards on 16 carries against North Carolina A&T last Saturday.
• MSU’s offense will have to account for the Hornet’s defensive back Jermond Colston. Colston currently ranks among the league leaders with 64 tackles (ranks T-4th), 2.0 tackles for loss and two interceptions.
• The Bears’ defensive front will face a Hornets line that’s surrendered 3 sacks during its current 3-game winning streak. Nick Elko was sacked once in a 24-0 win over North Carolina A&T on Oct. 20, but the veteran quarterback threw for 245 yards and a TD. Delaware State ranks T-3rd in the MEAC by limiting opponents to 13 sacks in seven games played.
• Through seven games, the Delaware State defense ranks 2nd in the MEAC in scoring defense by limiting opponents to 18.4 points per contest.
MARYLAND AND DELAWARE TIES
• Senior center Jerry Evans is the only Bear on the Morgan State roster who’s from Delaware. The 6-2, 300-pounder was raised in New Castle and was an All-State lineman at Hodgson Vocational Tech.
WICKED TIMES IN OCTOBER
The Bears are 26-19 in the month of October since the 2002 season and have won 4 of their last 6 October games. The Bears are 12-10 at home and 12-11 on the road during that time in October.
After Thurday’s contest versus Delaware State, the Bears will play at home against the top-ranked Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. The matchup is set for Saturday, November 3. Kickoff at 1 p.m.