Morgan State (2-2, 2-0 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) will attempt to remain unblemished in the conference standings when they play host to the Savannah State Tigers (1-3, 1-1) at Hughes Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. and will be broadcast by WEAA, 88.9FM. The Bears are coming off a 26-6 win at Delaware State, while the Tigers posted its first win of the season with a 37-27 home win against Florida A&M.
• Morgan State leads the series against Savannah State with an overall record of 7-0 since 2000.
• The Bears have gone 3-0 against the Tigers in games played at Hughes Stadium.
• Morgan State celebrated its homecoming against the Tigers at PSINET Stadium (now M&T Bank Stadium) on Oct. 14, 2000. The Bears won 12-6, marking its only win of the season.
• Morgan State starting junior RB Orlando Johnson had a game- and career-high 124 yards (5.9 avg) on a career-high 21 carries and scored on an 8-yard TD run in the win at Delaware State.
• R-senior QB Moses Skillon completed 11-of-26 passes for season-high 143 yards, including a season-long 11-yard TD pass to r-junior Lamont Brown III. Skillon also added 61 yards, including a 32-yard TD run.
• MSU had a conference-best 10 players selected to the 2015 All-MEAC preseason team, including four players who were named to the first team.
• Head Coach Lee Hull hold a 3-1 career record in games played in October.
• 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.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
• The Tigers finished the 2014 season with an overall mark of 0-12 and a 0-8 MEAC record.
• They returned 56 letterwinners to go along with 14 nine starters from a team that was outscored by a 557-137 margin in 2014.
• Ernest Wilson III was hired as Savannah State’s 24th head football coach on June 7, 2013 and has a 2-26 overall mark with the Tigers. He’s currently in his 24th year of coaching. Coach Wilson is from Baltimore and graduated Overlea High School.
• LB Marquis Smith was the lone Tiger selected to the Preseason All-MEAC Team. He was named to the Third Team.
• Savannah State recorded a 37-27 home victory over Florida A&M on Saturday night. Nicholas Bentley ran for two touchdowns to help the Tigers snap a 24-game losing streak — dating back to a 27-20 win against Fort Valley State on Sept. 14, 2013.
• Prior to their win against FAMU, the Tigers had taken their lumps during the earlier going of the season with losses at Colordao State (65-13), at Akron (52-9) and at Bethune-Cookman (42-12).
• Archon Spaulding, a 5-foot-11, 195 pound quarterback, will lead the Tigers offense when they enter Hughes Stadium. The junior from Brunswick (Ga.) has started in the last two games and has completed 23-of-42 passes for 244 yards, including zero picks. He ran for 91 yards on 15 carries against FAMU, and completed 8-of-12 passes for 83 yards in the win. Spaulding was previously a wideout for the Tigers.
• The Tigers’ ground game is led by Spaulding who has compiled 183 yards (4.6 avg) on 36 carries including a TD.
• The main target in the Tigers’ air attack has been Ker-Sean Wilson (6-2, 195). The senior leads the squad with 11 receptions for 81 yards, while Jeremiah Harris has eight catches for 92 yards.
• The defense has been led by LB Marquis Smith (6-3, 235), who ranks No. 2 in the MEAC in tackles (23 tackles), including 4 TFLs, a sack and a blocked kick; while freshman DB Isiah Bennett (6-2, 200) also has added 23 stops (ranked T-No. 9 in MEAC) and a pair of forced fumbles.
• The Tigers currently lead the league in turnover margin (+1.25) by collecting seven fumbles and four interceptions. SSU also ranks No. 2 in the MEAC in time of possession (32:43), behind MSU (32:54).
A WIN WOULD …
… give Lee Hull his 10th career win as a head coach.
… would be the Bears’ seventh straight victory over Savannah State.
… mark the Bears first time opening the conference 3-0 since 2009 (with road wins at Bethune-Cookman and home against N.C. A&T and Howard).
… mark the Bears fourth consecutive win at Hughes Stadium against Savannah State since 2001.
… mark the Bears first conference home win since defeating Delaware State (69-7) on Nov. 22, 2014 in the regular season conference finale.
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 TO START 3-0 FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2009
The Bears will look for its third win of the season on Saturday versus MEAC foe Savannah State.
• The Bears improved to 2-2 with a 26-6 win in Dover against Delaware State last Saturday.
• MSU will look for its first 3-0 MEAC start since the 2009 team went on the road to defeat Bethune-Cookman (24-13, Oct. 3), followed by home wins versus N.C A&T (7-6, Oct. 10) and Howard (14-7, Oct. 15).
• The Bears finished the 2009 with a 6-5 record.
With Moses Skillon, Lamont Brown III and Orlando Johnson getting into the touchdown scoring columns vs. Delaware State. Morgan State now has five different players who have scored touchdowns through four games. Last year, 14 Bears finished the season with a touchdown scored.