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Morgan State vs. South Carolina State college football preview

By Edward Lee

The Baltimore Sun

2:37 PM EST, November 13, 2013

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Morgan State (4-6, 4-2) @ South Carolina State (7-3, 5-1)

When: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Site: Oliver C. Dawson Stadium, Orangeburg, S.C.

TV: ESPNU

Radio: 88.9 FM WEAA

Series: South Carolina State leads, 29-5-1

What's at stake: Morgan State is suddenly back in the hunt for the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title after edging North Carolina A&T, 24-23. With No. 18 Bethune-Cookman falling to 5-1 in the conference after losing to Norfolk State, the Bears trail the Wildcats and South Carolina State by just one game in the league standings. Morgan State could move further into contention by knocking off the Bulldogs, but history is not on the Bears' side as they have won just once in their last 26 meetings. South Carolina State opened the season with back-to-back losses but has since won seven of eight. The Bulldogs — who earned votes in the latest Football Championship Subdivision poll compiled by The Sports Network — are 3-2 at home, and Morgan State has lost five of six road games this season. South Carolina State needs a win to keep pace with Bethune-Cookman, which defeated the Bulldogs, 14-3, on Oct. 26.

Key matchup: The Bears rank in the middle of the pack in the MEAC in scoring, averaging 21 points, but finding the end zone could be particularly difficult against South Carolina State. The Bulldogs rank first in the conference in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score touchdowns on just 51.9 percent of their trips inside South Carolina State's 20-yard line. Morgan State ranks third in the league in red-zone offense (touchdowns on 59.4 percent of their trips).

Player to watch: South Carolina State does not throw the ball often, but when senior quarterback Richard Cue does, he is usually searching for senior Tyler McDonald. The wide receiver leads the conference in receiving yards per game (75.1) and touchdown catches (six). McDonald will face a Bears pass defense that has 12 interceptions.