Morgan State Edges Howard in Double OT
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ramon McElrathbey caught an 8-yard pass from Floyd Haigler in the second overtime but Patrick Wolff missed the game-tying PAT as Morgan State escaped with a 31-30 win over Howard University in a thrilling Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Greene Stadium before an overflow homecoming crowd of 6,853.
The Bears had taken the lead on their second possession of the extra period when Keith Lee scored from three yards out. James Meade's kick gave his team a 31-24 lead.
Then the Bison took over and five plays later, Haigler and McElratbey hooked up for the score with the conversion pending. Then Wolff, the regular punter who was place kicking for the first time in his career, lined up and hit it, but it hit the top of the right goal post and bounced away, ending the drama and setting off a wild celebration from the Bears and bitter disappointment from the Bison..
"There were several opportunities that we missed," said Howard Coach Carey Bailey. "But overall, we played a good game. The miscues on kicking were big. We wanted to come out and play well with the kickoff return game and make sure we got them on their side of the field with our punting game. We allowed them to play on the short field early with all the shanks, it was bad."
The first half was pretty uneventful, with Morgan State (4-3 overall, 2-1 in the MEAC) taking a 10-0 first quarter lead on a five-yard TD pass from Jeremy Glover to Robert Surratt and a 27-yard field goal by Meade.
The Bears' defense, which came into the game ranked among the best in FCS, lived up to its reputation by styming the Bison aerial attack. For the game, MSU limited Howard to only 208 yards passing, more than 100 under its average. The Bears also increased their sack total to 21 on the season.
The one constant for the sputtering Bears' offense was the running of sophomore Devan James who rushed for a career-high 219 yards and two TDs.
The second half provided a lot of fireworks. Howard (1-5 overall, 0-3 in the MEAC) came out the locker room rejuvenated, scoring two TDs in a little over a minute. First Haigler capped off a 71-yard drive with a 20-yard pass to Arlandus Hood. Following a Morgan State turnover, Haigler found Willie Carter from two yards out to give his team its first lead at 14-10.
"We changed some things up in the second half, spread some things out," said Bailey. "We tried to make Floyd comfortable and that gave us an opportunity to make some quick scores."
Morgan State countered when James sprinted 32 yards to help his team regain the lead at 17-14 early in the fourth.
The Bears appeared to have the game won but punter Johnathan Skeete decided to run out of the end zone on fourth and long. He was stopped short and Howard capitalized when Wolff hit a field goal from 21 yards out at the end of regulation, sending the game into overtime.
Howard made good on its first possession when Haigler connected with Daley Gunter from 11 yards.
But James made sure that it did not end there when he scored his second TD from 4 yards to send it into another extra period.
"I just kept thinking as the game wore on that I had to keep fighting and put the team on my back," explained James, who lugged the ball 36 times. "I got a little fatigued so I just dug down deep and kept pushing myself."
Haigler completed 19 of 38 for 208 yards and 4 TDs but he was sacked four times and picked off once.
Every loss is tough," said Haigler. "I take everything to heart because we work so hard during the week. These losses hurt. We have to learn how to win."
NEXT UP: Morgan State hosts Delaware State for its homecoming next Saturday at 1 :30 pm while the Bison will try to pick up their first conference win when they travel to Greensboro, NC to take on the Aggies of North Carolina A&T at 1:30 pm
GAME NOTES: Willie Carter had another outstanding performance cut short when he injured his ankle in the third period and did not return...he still caught 5 passes for 79 yards and TD...Daley Gunter played well in Carter's absence, grabbing a career-high 5 passes for 62 yards and his first career TD...Endor Cooper continues his push as the MEAC Defensive player of the year...the 6-3, 245-pound senior middle linebacker tallied 14 tackles...James Carter had his best game, recording 11 tackles, 3.5 for losses...Lanny Kelly also had an outstanding game with 5 tackles and his first career interception.