MSU (4-6, 4-2 MEAC) at South Carolina State (6-3, 4-1 MEAC)
Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013 – 7:30 p.m. ET
Dawson Bulldog Stadium (22,000)
Television: ESPNU, Mark Neely will call the play-by-play and Jay Walker is the color analyst.
The Bears (4-6, 4-2) will travel to square-off against the South Carolina State Bulldogs in a Mid-Eastern Conference matchup on Thursday (Nov. 14) in Orangeburg (S.C.). Head coach Buddy Pough leads the Bulldogs. South Carolina State (6-3, 4-1) extended to a 2-game winning streak after a 25-21 conference victory against Florida A&M last Saturday in Orangeburg. The Bears needed a field goal at the buzzer to complete a thrilling comeback 24-23 victory against South Carolina State at Hughes Stadium.Donald Hill-Eley, ranked third among winning coaches at MSU, enters his 12th year as head coach of the Bears. Game time at Dawson Bulldog Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised by ESPNU. There will also be a live radio broadcast of the game on WEAA, 88.9 FM.
THE BEARS-BULLDOGS MATCHUP
• The Bears and Bulldogs will meet for the 36th time since 1971 … South Carolina State leads the series 29-5-1.
• MSU won the first matchup in 1971 by a score of 21-0; SCSU has won eight straight against the Bears, including a 32-10 win at Hughes Stadium on Nov. 12, 2010.
• Last time against the Bulldogs (Nov. 12, 2010) … The Bears couldn’t stop No. 15 South Carolina State’s big-play offense and couldn’t get away from the Bulldogs’ attacking defense. Those were the main reasons South Carolina State handed the Bears a 32-10 loss in an ESPNU nationally televised game at Hughes Stadium.
The Bulldogs sacked Morgan State freshman quarterback Delonte Williams eight times and forced him to run for his life time and again. In the first half, the Bears gained 183 yards, but they posted minus-29 yards in the second half — when they gave up a safety and couldn’t get going.
• The last time the Bears defeated by S.C. State was on Nov. 16, 2012 … Morgan State is 1-8 against South Carolina State under Coach Hill … his single win was during his first season at the helm when his Bears travelled to Orangeburg and came away with a shocking 23-12 victory.
ABOUT THE BULLDOGS
• Oliver “Buddy” Pough is in his 12th season as head football coach at South Carolina State, his alma mater. Since succeeding head coach emeritus Willie Jeffries as Bulldog head coach in 2002, Pough has established SC State football as one of the top programs in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). During an 11-year tenure at the school his teams have also captured two MEAC titles (2008 & 2009) outright, shared two others (2004, 2010), and made three trips to the prestigious FCS playoffs (2008, 2009 and 2010). His overall and conference records at SC State trail only Jeffries.
• South Carolina State returns 40 lettermen, including 17 starters from last year’s team.
• In 2012, the Bulldogs finished with a 5-6 overall record and 4-4 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
• R-Senior QB Richard Cue (6-1, 180) leads the Bulldogs offense by completing 112 of 201 passes for 1,308 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s currently completing 55.7 percent of his passes (No. in MEAC in pass efficiency) and has thrown a total of 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
• MSU’s defense will have to also account for standout senior WR Tyler McDonald (6-3, 190) is the MEAC’s leading receiver by averaging 80.6 yards per game. Through nine games he has 37 receptions for 725 yards and has scored six touchdowns.
• The Bulldogs also have a potent ground game led by freshman RB Justin Taylor. The Atlanta, Ga. product ranks among the league leaders in rushing with 538 yards on 153 carries (Ranked 4th in the MEAC) and has scored six rushing TDs.
• MSU’s offense will have to account for senior defender Joe Thomas. Thomas, a 6-0, 230 pound LB, ranks No. 5 in the MEAC with 88 tackles (63 solo).
• MSU will enter the 2013 season with a number of veterans … the Bears’ roster includes 13 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 Jr., Tracy Martin and Orlando Johnson who will compete for the starting RB spot.
• Morgan State ranks 5th in MEAC total offense by averaging 321.7 yards per game (5.1 per play).
• MSU ranks No. 3 in the MEAC in running the ball … The Bears are averaging 182.3 yards per game on 445 carries and have scored 14 TDs on the ground.
• Redshirt-freshman running back Lamont Brown III ranks No 6 in the MEAC in rushing with 571 yards on 122 attempts and has scored three TDs.
• Morgan State ranks 3rd in MEAC pass efficiency (122.4).
• The Bears defense will attempt to record their 10 straight game of registering a turnover … they recorded an interception in their last game against North Carolina A&T.
• The Bears added four new coaches to the 2013 staff … the new coaches are: Jerry Holmes (DC), Gordon Gregory (OC), LeAndre Creamer (DB) and Marcus Gladden(OL).
RUN GAME POWERS OFFENSE … Morgan State’s rushing game has powered the team to a No. 3 ranking in the MEAC (182.3 ypg), T-5thin scoring (21.0 ppg) and 5th in total offense (321.7 ypg). Morgan State’s 1,823 rushing yards through the first 10 games is already more than they recorded during the 2012 season (1,647 yards) … in fact, it’s already the most rushing yards gained in the last four years. With three games remaining on the schedule, the Bears are on pace to eclipse the 2,040 rushing yards they posted during the 2008 season…just 218 yards to go.
TIME IS ON OUR SIDE … The Bears have notched four games 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. 3 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 nine games, the Bears have scored 23-of-29 (79%) 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 seven players with at least 30 tackles so far this season.
• Junior linebacker Cody Acker leads the way with 85 stops (T-12th in MEAC), including a season-high 14 tackles against Norfolk State (Sept. 28).
• The next highest is senior Darien Irby who has posted 50 tackles from his starting strong safety position.
NO SACKS FOR YOU … The Morgan State offensive line has been one of the toughest teams to sack in the conference. The Bears currently rank No. 3 in the MEAC by limiting opponents to 16 sacks in 10 games.
COLLECTING INTERCEPTIONS … The Bears have recorded 12 interceptions through nine games. CB Deshaun Summers and S Paul Eatman leads the way with three picks apiece, followed by CB Joe Rankin has a pair of INTs, while SS Peterson Janvier and LBs Bill Hill and Cody Acker each have an interception to their credit. MSU currently ranks T-No. 26 in the FCS in interceptions (No. 4 in the MEAC) and ranks No. 3 in pass defense by limiting opponents to 150.1 yards per game.
NOTABLE NATIONAL NOTES … Here are a few national statistics of note on offense, defense and special teams that pertain to the Bears:
• Morgan State is 15th nationally in net punting (38.4) and redshirt freshman punter Lawrence Forbes ranks No. 3 (45.2 avg) and has dropped 12 of his 41 punts inside of the opponents’ 20-yard line.
• Morgan State is 10th nationally in punt returns (2nd in the MEAC – 13.5).
• The Bears offense ranks 22nd nationally in time of possession (32 avg TOP).
• MSU 14th nationally in passing yards per completion (13.7).
• Morgan State’s pass defense ranks 3rd nationally by limiting opponents to 150.1 passing yards per game.
• Junior linebacker Cody Acker ranks 2oth nationally in solo tackles (56).