MSU (4-7, 4-3 MEAC) at Delaware State (5-5, 5-2 MEAC)
Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 – 2 p.m. ET
Alumni Stadium (30,000)
The Bears (4-6, 4-3) will travel to square-off against the Delaware State Hornets in a Mid-Eastern Conference matchup on Saturday (Nov. 23) in Dover (Del). Head coach Kermit Blount leads the Hornets. Delaware State (5-5, 5-2) extended to a 2-game winning streak after a 29-21 conference victory against Florida A&M last Saturday in Tallahassee. The Bears dropped a 38-3 decision against South Carolina State at Oliver Bulldog Stadium in an ESPNU Thursday night matchup. Donald Hill-Eley, ranked third among winning coaches at MSU, enters his 12th year as head coach of the Bears. Game time at Alumni Stadium is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET.
THE BEARS-HORNETS MATCHUP
• The Bears and Hornets will meet for the 56th time since 1945 … Morgan State leads the series 31-24.
• MSU won the first matchup in 1945 by a score of 27-0.
• Last time against the Hornets (Oct. 25, 2012) … Delaware State’s defense stopped the Bears on a fourth down play inside of the Hornets’ territory to hold off the Bears tonight 28-23 at Hughes Stadium in front of an ESPNU audience. Elko and Tarpley caused major problems for the Bears defense all night long. At one point, Elko completed a Delaware State record 17 consecutive passes. Elko was 33 of 43 for 398 yards and two touchdowns on the night. Tarpley finished with a game-high 12 catches for 143 yards, including a pair of touchdowns.
• The last time the Bears defeated by Delaware State was on Oct. 29, 2011 … In just his fourth college game, 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 and stretch their winning streak to three straight.
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 when they posted a 32-0 win on the road against North Carolina A&T.
ABOUT THE HORNETS
• Kermit Blount (Winston-Salem State ’80) is wrapping up his third season as head coach of the Delaware State Hornets. During his second year at the school, he led DSU to a 6-5 overall record, the team’s first winning mark since 2007 and a three-game improvement from the previous season. The 2012 Hornets also posted five MEAC wins, four more than the previous year.
• Delaware State returns 41 lettermen, including 15 starters from last year’s team.
• In 2012, the Bulldogs finished with a 6-5 overall record and 5-3 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC).
• QB Corey Murphy (6-1, 205, Santa Clara, Calif.) is the MEAC’s leading passer. The senior has completed 175 of 316 passes for 1,928 yards. He’s currently completing 55.4 percent of his passes (No. 7 in MEAC in pass efficiency; No. 2 in total offense – 2,007 yds) and has thrown a total of 10 TDs and 12 INTs. Murphy threw a pair of TDs against Florida A&M and finished the game 10 of 15 for 141 yards.
• MSU’s defense will have to also account for standout freshman WR Malik Golson (5-9, 180) leads the MEAC in receptions per game (5.1) and ranks No. 3 by averaging 49.9 receiving yards per game. Through 10 games he has 51 receptions for 499 yards and has scored four touchdowns.
• The Hornets ranks among the top in the MEAC in a few categories. DSU ranks No. 1 in penalties (41.7 avg); No. 2 in pass offense (209.6 avg); No. 2 in red zone defense (71.8 pct); and No. 3 in 3rd down conversions (37.7 pct).
• MSU’s offense will have to account for senior defender Ernest Adjei. Adjei, a 6-0, 230 pound LB, ranks No. 16 in the MEAC with 75 tackles (31 solo), 10 tackles for loss and a pair of sacks from his linebacker position.
• 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 6th in MEAC total offense by averaging 304.6 yards per game (4.8 per play).
• MSU ranks No. 4 in the MEAC in running the ball … The Bears are averaging 173.5 yards per game on 487 carries and have scored 14 TDs on the ground.
• Redshirt-freshman running back Lamont Brown III ranks No. 8 in the MEAC in rushing with 576 yards on 127 attempts and has scored three TDs.
• MSU QB Robert Council ranks No. 9 in the MEAC in total offense (108.8 ypg) … he has accounted for 598 passing yards and has rushed for 381 yards.
• 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. 4 ranking in the MEAC (173.5 ypg), 7thin scoring (19.4 ppg) and 6th in total offense (304.6 ypg). Morgan State’s 1,908 rushing yards through the first 11 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 one game remaining on the schedule, the Bears are on pace to eclipse the 2,040 rushing yards they posted during the 2008 season…just 132 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 (31:49 avg/g).
FINISHING TOUCHES … MSU has been pretty good this season when it comes to scoring in the red zone. Through the first 11 games, the Bears have scored 26-of-33 (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 eight players with at least 30 tackles so far this season.
• Junior linebacker Cody Acker leads the way with 88 stops (T-14th in MEAC), including a season-high 14 tackles against Norfolk State (Sept. 28).
• The next highest is senior Darien Irby who has posted 54 tackles from his starting strong safety position.
COLLECTING INTERCEPTIONS … The Bears have recorded 13 interceptions through 11 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 and Andrew Mitchell each have an interception to their credit. MSU currently ranks T-No. 27 in the FCS in interceptions (No. 4 in the MEAC).
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 25th nationally in net punting (37.5) and redshirt freshman punter Lawrence Forbes ranks No. 5 (44.5 avg) and has dropped 13 of his 48 punts inside of the opponents’ 20-yard line.
• Morgan State is 17th nationally in punt returns (2nd in the MEAC – 11.3).
• The Bears offense ranks 24th nationally in time of possession (31 avg TOP).
• MSU 16th nationally in passing yards per completion (13.6).
• Junior linebacker Cody Acker ranks 21st nationally in solo tackles (59).