The Morgan State (MSU) Bears and the Robert Morris Colonials entered a match-up on Sept. 17 both in search of their first win of the 2011 season. The Colonials lost their first two games at home to Dayton and Liberty, while Morgan State was beaten at Towson and Bowling Green State universities.

However, it was the Bears who finally got the monkey off their backs as MSU held off its home-opener opponent with a 13-12 victory over the Colonials at Hughes Stadium.

A missed extra point by Colonials kicker Greg Langer turned out to be the difference in the tight contest. Robert Morris quarterback Jeff Sinclair completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Rickeem Jackson who scampered into the end zone to cut Morgan’s lead to 13-12 near the end of the game. However, Langer seemed to rush the point-after attempt and kicked the ball wide left.
Robert Morris advanced to the FCS Playoffs in 2010, so they were expected to be a test for the Bears. But the Colonials ended up hurting themselves time after time with costly holding penalties on offense.

The Morgan State defense held the Colonials running back Justin Brooks to only 68 yards on 16 carries. They had to make some adjustments on him and Sinclair gave Morgan some problems with his feet in the first half as well. But the Bears’ defensive unit got the job done when it counted and finished the day by recording four sacks and two interceptions.

“The coaches have been making the right call,” said MSU senior defensive end Zary Stewart. “We have guys who are finally stepping it up; guys who weren’t even playing are now playing. Everybody is stepping up to the plate now.”

The Bears also had some success on offense with junior running back Travis Davidson rushing for 87 yards on 23 carries. Freshman quarterback Robert Council completed just 4-of-8 passes for 93 yards, but connected on a 56-yard touchdown bomb to junior receiver Tyrone Hendrix.

“Hendrix did a good job posting the guy and adjusting to the football and just ran away from the coverage,” Bears coach Don Hill-Eley explained. “We knew that Hendrix, when we recruited him, was a guy that can run the top off of a coverage, or he can get deep behind people which will open our running game.”

MSU opens up it’s Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) play with a trip to the Meadowlands to play rival Howard at the Whitney Young Classic next Saturday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 pm.


Keith Henry

Special to the AFRO