Sophomore running back Shane Simpson scored the only touchdown of the inaugural Battle of Greater Baltimore to lift the Towson University Tigers to a 10-0 victory over the Morgan State University Bears in their college football season opener on Sept. 2 at the Johnny Unitas Stadium at Towson University in Towson, Md.

Battle of Greater Baltimore between the Morgan State University Bears and the Towson University Tigers.

Towson and Morgan State hadn’t faced each other since 2011, despite the Division I-AA schools being just five miles apart. The universities announced this summer that they have committed to facing each other annually through 2020, establishing a football rivalry dubbed “the Battle of Greater Baltimore.”

That battle turned into an all-out defensive slugfest Saturday as Morgan State and Towson’s defensive units forced three turnovers each, all interceptions. Towson’s defense made all three of its interceptions in the first half, including a pick by redshirt junior defensive back Monty Fenner, who returned the ball 32 yards to the Bears’ 2-yard line. That set up the only touchdown score of the game, a short run by Simpson. 

Bears senior defensive back Craven Rogers, sophomore linebacker Ian McBurrough and junior linebacker Brandon Griffin snagged Morgan State’s three interceptions. The Morgan State defense held Towson’s offense to just 102 yards total, including 85 yards passing and 17 yards rushing). 

Morgan State’s offense had some success moving the ball. Junior quarterback Eli Staley, a transfer from powerhouse Mississippi State, completed 23-of-46 pass attempts for 185 yards, and completed a pass to nine different receivers. But the Bears simply couldn’t find the end zone, as Staley was picked off every time Morgan State got close to the red zone.

Next: Morgan State (0-1) will host Albany (0-1) at Hughes Stadium at Morgan in Baltimore.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor