The Morgan State (MSU) Bears came into an Oct. 1 home game at Hughes Stadium with two straight wins and an urge to improve their offense and maintain their steady defense against a dangerous North Carolina A&T University Aggies squad.

Unfortunately for the Bears, Mike Mayhew had other plans. The Aggies’ junior running back had his way with the Bears’ defense by recording 26 carries for a career-high 233 yards and a touchdown in a 24-3 defeat of the Bears on Saturday.

“The biggest thing is that we knew that we could stop the run earlier,” said MSU coach Don Hill-Eley. “(Mayhew) got two big runs in there in which our linebacker blew two assignments. We knew the kid was a good runner. He showed it today and ran the ball well.”

The game started well for Morgan State’s defense as junior linebacker Allen Stephens intercepted Aggie redshirt-sophomore quarterback Lewis Kindle on the first play from scrimmage. That led to a 43-yard field goal by Ervin Gonzales to put the Bears ahead 3-0 with 12:33 left in the first quarter.

The Aggies struck back late in the quarter when Mayhew juked a few Bears and ran 78 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown with 1:42 left. The extra point gave A&T a 7-3 advantage.

MSU (2-3, 1-1 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) ran into some problems with their special teams, in particular, their field goal unit. Three field goal attempts were blocked by the Aggies. But according to Hill-Eley, it may have been foul play that caused the missed field goals.

“Right now, we’re getting a look at it. Leveraging is a foul. You can’t leverage yourself where you use other guys to advance yourself across on a kick,” Hill-Eley said. “The official said he may have missed it at halftime. But that don’t do us no good. That’s nine points that’s out there on the field with technicalities.”
MSU’s offense continued to struggle even though they had a few opportunities inside A&T’s territory. But they couldn’t convert those opportunities into touchdowns, which proved costly for the Bears.

“The biggest thing is chemistry,” Hill explained about the offense. “Week in and week out we played all the quarterbacks. It’s about trying to find some continuity, and right now, we don’t have any continuity. When you look at the personnel from running backs to offensive line, to quarterbacks and receivers, you never see the same 11 guys. So we have to get to the point where we have some continuity and hang our hat on some guys and just go with it.”

A&T (2-2, 1-0 MEAC) struck again with 12:56 left in the second quarter when Jose Garcia-Camacho booted a 35-yard field goal to extend the Aggies’ advantage to 10-3.

Later on in the second quarter, Kindle hooked up with junior wide receiver Larry Raper on a 47-yard touchdown pass. With the extra point, the Aggies extended their lead to 17-3 with 4:21 left in the first half.

The Aggies added one more touchdown in the fourth quarter, after MSU freshman quarterback Seth Higgins threw an interception, Kindle hit paydirt from a yard out with 4:14 left in the fourth quarter.

“We have to be better mentally,” said Higgins. “We did have a lot of mental mistakes and penalties. Things that set us back. Next time we have to sharpen it up.”

Higgins completed 22 of 40 passing attempts for 169 yards and two interceptions. He was also sacked three times in the game. His counterpart, Lewis Kindle completed 10 of 21 passing attempts for 144 yards, a touchdown and an interception on the day. Kindle was sacked twice by MSU junior linebacker Tierney Yates.

Morgan State hosts Savannah State on Oct. 8 in a homecoming contest at Hughes Stadium. Kickoff will be at 1 p.m.

 

Keith Henry

Special to the AFRO