Morgan State will look to finish off the season strong a when they host the Norfolk State Spartans in their season finale on Saturday in Baltimore. MSU holds a 4-5 overall mark and are 4-3 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play following a 21-7 win last week against Florida A&M. Norfolk State is coming off a 17-10 home loss versus South Carolina State and dropped to 3-7 overall and 3-4 in conference action. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Hughes Stadium and will be broadcast by WEAA, 88.9FM. The game will be “Senior Day” for the Bears.
• Saturday marks the 30th meeting in the series that began with a 33-0 Morgan State win in 1965. The Spartans hold an 18-11 advantage in the series vs. MSU.
• Herb Walker Jr. led the Bears with 111 yards on 21 carries, but the Spartans used a last minute drive to rally and pull out a 15-14 victory on Sept. 27, 2014, marking Norfolk State’s first win of the season.
• R-senior QB Moses Skillon completed 16-of-30 passes for 327 yards vs. Florida A&M, including an 83-yard TD pass to Andrew King. Skillon also gained 74 yards on seven carries and scored on a 3-yard run.
• MSU junior RB Orlando Johnson finished with a game-high 92 yards on 20 carries, including an 8-yard TD run for the Bears’ first score of the game vs. FAMU. He also had three receptions for 13 yards.
• The Bears snapped its first three-game losing streak as a result of the win against Florida A&M.
• Lee Hull’s Bears were predicted to finish last in the MEAC’s Preseason Order of Finish. However, MSU not only finished with its’ first winning record since 2009…but they also captured its first MEAC Title in 35 years and its first Division I FCS Playoff berth.
MSU SENIORS GOING OUT ON TOP
The following is the list of the Morgan State senior football players who will be competing play in their last regular season as collegiate student-athletes. These nine (9) seniors are working diligently to complete their final courses so they can obtain their degree and take a step into the world as educated young men. The 2015 seniors are:
QB Moses Skillon, TE Eme Akonawe and WR Andrew King – and four on defense – CB Deshaun Summers, FS Peterson Janvier, SS Fonyi Agendia and LB Joel Scott.
A WIN WOULD …
… give Lee Hull his 12th career win as a head coach.
… would snap the Bears’ 8-game losing streak to the Spartans.
… mark the Bears’ second straight win.
… mark its third official home win of the season.
… mark the Bears first win against Norfolk State at Hughes Stadium since a 43-34 season finale win on Nov. 22, 2003.
… improve Lee Hull’s record against MEAC teams to 10-5 since 2014.
SCOUTING THE SPARTANS
• Norfolk State finished the 2014 season with an overall mark of 4-8 and a 4-4 conference record.
• They returned 54 letterwinners and 15 starters from a team that lost of its last three games a season ago.
• Latrell Scott (Hampton, ’99) leads the Spartans in his first season at the helm.
• Norfolk State had seven (7) players selected to the Preseason All-MEAC Team and was tabbed to finish seventh in the MEAC’s preseason predicted order of finish.
• Greg Hankerson completed 16 of 37 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown, but South Carolina State scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, capped by a 4-yard TD run by Justin Taylor with 42 seconds left to lift the Bulldogs past NSU (3-7, 3-4) to a 17-10 victory at Dick Price Stadium.
• Junior QB Greg Hankerson (6-0, 190) transferred from Florida Atlantic and ranks No 3 in the MEAC in passing. He has completed 50 percent of his passes (162-322) for 1,924 yards with 12 TDs and 5 INTs. He’s also NSU’s second leading rusher with 335 yards on 116 carries, including 2 TDs. h
• The Spartans offense ranks No. 4 in pass offense (192.4/g), No. 7 in the MEAC by averaging 287 yards per game and No. 7 in scoring (16.7/g). NSU is ranked No. 9 in sacks allowed (35) and ranks No. 8 against the run (196.7/g).
• Junior RB Gerard Johnson (5-9,200) has compiled 418 yards (3.5 avg) on 118 carries with a TD. R-sophomore Shakeem Copeland (5-9,205) is the team’s third leading ground gainer with 127 yards on 33 carries with a TD.
• The main target in the Spartans’ air attack has been standout wideout DeAndre Sangster (6-2,180) and Isaac White (6-3,185). Sangster leads the way with 38 receptions (No. 7 in MEAC, 3.8 rec/g) for 545 yards (38.2 avg, No. 7) and 2 TDs, while White has 36 catches (T-No. 2) for 456 yards (No. 6, 57.0 avg).
• The defense has been led by r-sophomore LB Deon King (6-1, 235). The Chesapeake (Va.) leads the league with 149 tackles (64 solo), with nine tackles for loss, three sacks a forced fumble and an interception.
• Sophomore Chris Lee (6-3,270) leads the Spartans in the trenches from his DL position where he has racked up 48 stops with 12.5 TFL (No. 8 in MEAC) and five sacks (T-No.5).
• Senior DB D’Metrius Williams (6-0,200)leads the league in passes defended with 12 pass breakups and a pair of interceptions. He also has 36 tackles.
• The Spartans rank No. 3 in the league in turnover margin. They have recorded 11 interceptions (T-2nd highest in the league)and four fumbles.
Morgan State was a power as a former member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). The Bears posted 173 wins between 1929 and 1959 when Edward P. Hurt was the head coach and the Bears won 14 CIAA championships. Earl Banks added to the championship collection by winning four titles during the 1960s and a MEAC title in 1971. Clarence Thomas led the Bears to a MEAC title in 1979…and now – after a 35-year drought – head coach Lee Hull has added a MEAC title following a thrilling and historical 2014 season. Other MSU highlights:
• Four (4) Pro Football Hall of Famers (Len Ford, Leroy Kelly, Roosevelt Brown & Willie Lanier)
• 19 CIAA championships
• 4 MEAC championships
• 30 consecutive games won (8th in 1964 to the 5th in 1968)
• 57 longest non-losing streak (4th in 1931 to the 6th in 1938)
• 4 MEAC Coaches of the Year; 3 Offensive POTY; 4 Defensive POTY; and 1 Offensive POTY
• 84 All-MEAC First Team selections
• 38 All-CIAA First Team selections
CAMPAIGNING FOR SUCCESS
The Bears enter the 2015 season looking to post their first back-to-back winning seasons (over .500) since going 7-5 in 2002 and 6-5 in 2003.
The Bears will open the 2015 campaign with two of its first three non-conference matchups coming on the road. MSU opens the season at Air Force (Sept. 5), followed by a game at Illinois State (Sept. 12). The Bears round out non-conference play when they host Division II member VA-Lynchburg (Sept. 19) in the home-opener.
BEARS NAME TEAM CAPTAINS
The MSU Bears wrapped up the preseason by naming the team captains for the 2015 season. The leadership group is comprised of a senior, two juniors and a sophomore … offense – Andrew King (Columbia, Md.), defense – Andrew Mitchell (Memphis, Tenn.) and Greg Gibson (Houston, Texas) and special teams – Chris Moller (Newport News, Va.).
BEARS LOOKING FOR FIRST BACK-TO-BACK .500 CAMPAIGN
A win against Norfolk State this Saturday would be a lot for Lee Hull’s Bears. The Bears would not only snap the Spartans 8-game winning streak against MSU, it would also secure the Bears first back-to-back .500 campaigns for the program since going 6-6 in 2008 and 6-5 in 2009.