BALTIMORE, Md. — The cardiac Bears delivered another last minute breakthrough at Hughes Stadium this Saturday afternoon.
A 9-yard touchdown run by Moses Skillon with 58 seconds left proved to be the difference in a 24-21 Morgan State victory over the South Carolina State Bulldogs. It was the first win over SCSU since 2002, and it also marked the first home victory over the Bulldogs since 1974.
This victory was huge in that it sealed this team finishing at the .500 mark or better overall for the first time since 2009 when Donald Hill-Eley led the Bears to a 6-5 record.
“This is the fourt time since 1979 that we’re going to have a winning season,” said Morgan State head coach Lee Hull. “It’s a great accomplishment for these guys. I’m proud of them. This is something that we’ve talked about as one of our goals. If we do that, the season would be successful.”
South Carolina State (7-4, 5-2 MEAC) got on the board first courtesy of Justin Taylor’s one-yard touchdown run with 2:39 left in the first quarter. Morgan State responded with a 12-play drive of their own in the second quarter. But it only led them to a 44-yard field goal from Chris Moller, which cut the Bears’ deficit to 7-3 with 7:18 remaining.
The Bears’ defense shutdown the Bulldogs with a four and out, giving the offense another opportunity that they eventually capitalized on. That possession took three plays, but it ended on Skillon’s 55-yard touchdown pass to Andrew King, who had his defenders beat by about 10 yards on that play. King coasted into the end zone to help give Morgan State (6-5, 5-2 MEAC) a 10-7 advantage with 4:31 left in the first half. That was the halftime score as well.
“Just streaks, vertical streaks,” said Andrew King. “I caught the ball 10 yards down the field, saw that there was one man to beat. Ladarious Spearman came in and blocked him. I went right passed him and scored.”
In the second half, both teams traded the lead. Neither team scored until SCSU’s Justin Taylor rumbled into the end zone from three yards out with 1:48 left in the third quarter to help give the Bulldogs the 14-10 lead.
However, the Bears responded in the fourth quarter when Skillon connected with Spearman on an 18 yard touchdown pass with 12:19 remaining to give the Bears a 17-14 lead.
Skillon handled business when he had to. He converted 25 of 43 throws for 289 yards, two touchdowns and interceptions and ran the ball 17 times for 42 yards and the game winning score.
“Moses did a great job,” Hull said about Skillon’s effort. “He had a couple of picks. But besides those two plays, he did a great job of running our offense, making the right reads in the run game and also in the pass game.”
12 seconds later, the Bulldogs responded on the ensuing kickoff when Antonio Hamilton returned the kick 98 yards to the house. That quieted the crowd and gave the Bulldogs a 21-17 advantage with 12:07 left in regulation.
On what turned out to be the game winning drive, Morgan State converted a crucial fourth down earlier when Herb Walker Jr, who rushed for 89 yards today, ran 14 yards to turn a fourth and three situation into a fresh pair of downs at the SCSU 25. Three plays later, Skillon made the game winning play from nine yards out.
“We just had faith,” Skillon said about that play. “We knew that if we could get the ball back with a little bit of time, we’ll score and win the game for the team. That’s what we did.”
Morgan State’s defense came up big when it was needed as well. The Bears sacked SCSU quarterback Adrian Kollock Jr. four times, allowing him to throw for only 51 yards on 8 of 15 attempts. They intercepted him once as well.
Senior defensive end Christopher Robinson broke the Morgan State record for sacks which was 26 by Willie Thompson, who played from 1994-97. More important than that, Robinson and his team wanted to bounce back from last week’s 45-0 loss at North Carolina A&T.
“It was real great to come back, get another opportunity to play the game we love,” said Robinson. “Then get a good win against a great opponent. Getting that sour feeling that we had last week out of us this week, it was real great.”