Bears Drop Season-Finale at Hampton, 42-18

HAMPTON, Va. — As close as Morgan State was to winning a share of the MEAC title this year, coach Donald Hill-Eley will enter the offseason knowing his team failed to attain a winning record.
Today, the Bears fell, 42-18, to Hampton in a game that knocked the Bears to 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. It’s the second consecutive year Morgan State has finished below .500 and the sixth time in the past 10 years.
The Bears trailed 7-3 at halftime, before they were decimated in the third quarter for the third game in a row. Hampton outscored the Bears 14-0 in the third quarter behind the play of backup quarterback Travis Champion. Champion threw a pair of touchdowns, including a 33-yard touchdown strike to Taurean Durham to give the Pirates a 21-3 lead at the end of the quarter.
Hampton’s freshmen quarterback duo of Travis Champion and Bradford Hudson were solid. Champion completed 13-of-17 passes for 192 yards and tossed three touchdowns, while Hudson was 6-of-13 for 59 yards and threw a touchdown.
“Offensively we moved the ball,” said MSU head coach Donald Hill-Eley, “but we made too many crazy mistakes.”
“During the first half we really didn’t have any offense. We had a couple of scores that we left out on the field. We got down in the red-zone and threw an interception and we got in the red zone and jumped offside. We settled down in the second half and got some plays going, but you have to win as a team. Once we picked up on offense in the second half, then the defense dropped off. We just didn’t get a collective effort today.
MSU posted 311 total yards on offense, while the Pirates finished with 405.
The teams traded touchdowns in the early moments of the fourth quarter. MSU freshman quarterback Seth Higgins engineered an 11-play, 60-yard drive and was capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by senior running back Jourdan Brooks (11 carries, 55 yds). Higgins connected with senior tight end Lamont Bryant for a two-point conversion to trim Hampton’s lead to 21-11 with 11:44 remaining in the contest.
The Pirates returned favor when Dyrri McCain took a handoff, turned the corner and raced 36-yards down the sideline to the endzone to help extend the lead to 28-11 (9:31).
Less than four minutes later, Higgins crossed the goal line from 3 yards out and the extra point by Ervin Gonzalez cut the lead to 10 points, trailing 28-18 with 6:24 left to go. The Pirates dominated from that point forward as they scored the last two touchdowns of the game. Champion tossed his third TD when he hit Reginald Hicks for a 27-yard TD (4:34) and Antwon Chisolm scored on a 6-yard TD run in the final seconds to give the Pirates a 42-18 victory.
Hudson led the first-half charge for the Pirates with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Isiah Thomas (7 rec., 95 yds.) midway through the first quarter. MSU answered with a 33-yard field goal by Gonzalez as the Pirates held a slim 7-3 lead during the early going.
The Bears committed eight penalties for 83 yards, compared to Hampton who finished with 20 flags for 197 yards.
Hill spoke about the play of his talented young players this season. “With all the injuries that we’ve had this season, from both tailbacks going down, to our center going down to playing a freshman center, freshman quarterback and freshman tailback — I’m just glad those kids stepped up to the challenge, because it could’ve been a lot worse.”

Leonard L. Haynes IV
Morgan State University  ?  Media Relations Director
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