The Morgan State Bears traveled to play the Howard University Bison for their homecoming game but came up short, losing to Howard 39-14, as mistakes and frustrations led to the loss.
This game fit a pattern that Morgan has followed as of late: The Bears start out their games strong, then the momentum tends to fade towards the end of games. Most teams are this way due to fatigue, but the Bears are like two different teams. This performance was a perfect example of the tale of two teams.
“We’re still at times making too many mistakes, even with the better game last week,” said head Coach Fred Farrier, “the consistency of being able to do that stuff repeatedly, is really what is hurting us right now.”
The first half was very competitive, with both teams moving the ball and scoring points. The Bears did commit some mistakes in the first half, that included two missed field goals and a touchdown overturned due to a penalty. They still managed to only be down 10 points at the half 17-7, and the game did not seem to be getting away.
The defense did a good job at first limiting Howard quarterback Caylin Newton, who came into the game leading the MEAC conference in total offense per game. Newton did score on a big play in the second quarter, with a deep touchdown pass. They did manage to sack him three times and limit him to only nine completions.
The offense had multiple opportunities to score in the first half but could only capitalize on one. They had two red zone attempts that were both nullified by mental mistakes. The missed field goal in the second quarter, was after a holding penalty that would have made it a closer kick. If made, the score would have been 14-10. Then to end the half, the Bears connected on a touchdown as time expired, but it was taken away by an offensive pass interference penalty.
The Second Half
The second half began with a big play that set the tone for the rest of the game. Newton connected with wide receiver Kyle Anthony for a 75-yard bomb on the second play of the quarter. The little momentum that Morgan had gained before the half had disappeared in a few seconds. From that point on the team was not the same, and then the “other” Morgan showed up.
Frustrations brewed with each play, with many personal foul penalties on both teams. Two Morgan players were even ejected for throwing punches, one in the first quarter. Mistakes in the second half only compounded the team’s frustrations. They committed four turnovers in the fourth quarter alone, two coming on back-to-back muffed fumbles that set up Howard for easy touchdowns.
“I think guys are just losing their cool in the heat of the moment,” said Farrier, “it’s a competitive game and people on both sides are in a battle, but they have to keep their heads better, throwing a punch is illegal, and we have to get that corrected.”
This team needs to find a way to be consistent to from half-to-half. The offense cannot continue putting the defense in poor field position and has to stay on the field more. They actually won the possession time battle, but because of the five turnovers, Howard did need to be on offense much to score.
The Bears managed to outgain the Bison by over 100 yards, with another strong game from both running backs. They still only could convert on one third down conversion, so drives either stalled or ended in a turnover. Morgan quarterback Elijah Staley threw two more interceptions, including another one in the red zone, and was visibly frustrated on the sideline.
Morgan is now (1-6) overall and (1-3) in the MEAC conference. They still have four games left, including two at home. They will have to find a way to clean up what has been a messy start to the season. The defense must continue their play, but have to work on giving up big plays. The offense looks like it can move the ball but has done a terrible job at protecting it.