Nov. 23, 2 p.m.
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The appearance of South Carolina State reserve quarterback Adrian Kollock caught most of the 8,053 fans in attendance Thursday night at Oliver C. Dawson by surprise.
Morgan State was equally caught off-guard by the redshirt freshman. Playing a "Wildcat" role for the Bulldogs, Kollock accounted for four touchdowns, three of them the first quarter.
Add a dominating defensive effort, and South Carolina State routed Morgan State 38-3 in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game.
"They pretty much were running [Kollock] like a 'Wildcat,'" Morgan State coach Donald Hill-Eley said. "It was something they were doing in short-yardage situations and had some success with it, and a lot of times, when you run quarterback runs, you get an extra hat on the ball. So it was a big surprise to see him in there and see what he was doing."
South Carolina State amassed 442 total yards while moving a half-game ahead of Bethune-Cookman for first place in the MEAC with one game remaining. If the Wildcats lose to Hampton on Saturday, the Bulldogs (8-3, 6-1 MEAC) could clinch the title outright with a win Nov. 23 at Norfolk State.
The Bears (4-7, 4-3) saw their two-game winning streak end. Morgan State was held to 134 total yards while dropping its ninth consecutive game in the series.
Kollock jump-started the Bulldogs to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Substituting for starting quarterback Richard Cue on the team's first three series inside Bears territory, he produced touchdown runs of 3 and 2 yards and a 37-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Dennis Rowe.
"We were looking for one of those quarterbacks in the bunch, and he's the guy who's the odds-on favorite right now," South Carolina State coach Buddy Pough said. "He's a little bit ahead of the other guys as far as leadership qualities and some of the other kinds of attributes. He's a hard-nosed guy. He runs the ball more downhill, so it's hard to find a quarterback guy that actually will put his nose in there and kind of do what that guy's got to do.
"I think we used Kollock because he showed himself to be the guy that seemed to have the best ability that way right now."
The Bears' offense was equally overwhelmed early and often by South Carolina State. Morgan State was held to 79 rushing yards by the Football Championship Subdivision leader in rushing defense. Bears quarterbacks Robert Council and Seth Higgins (Edgewood) combined to complete just five of 22 passes for 49 yards and an interception, and they were sacked five times.
"They've only been giving up 70 yards and played the run as tough as they always have," Hill-Eley said. "And then, they have a great pass-rush defense. They got behind us with the pass rush. A couple of early sacks which made it difficult to move the ball. They had a great game plan, and they executed."
After trailing 24-0 at halftime, Morgan State posted its lone score in the third quarter, a 41-yard field goal by Chris Moller.
South Carolina State answered Morgan State's score with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Cue to wide receiver Tyler McDonald (five catches, 112 yards). Kollock added a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Kollock completed four of five passes for 56 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He also ran 10 times for 45 yards and three scores.
Cue went 18-for-27 for 223 yards and a touchdown.
A dominating defensive effort by South Carolina State put Morgan State in an insurmountable hole. The Morgan State offense was shut down in the first half. The Bears were held to 42 total yards — 21 in each quarter.
The lone score in the second quarter came with 18 seconds left on a 43-yard field goal by South Carolina State's Nick Belcher. On the previous series, he missed a 42-yard attempt.
NOTES: Morgan State dropped to 5-30-1 all time against South Carolina State. The Bears' last win in the series was Nov. 16, 2002. ... South Carolina State is 87-8 when leading at halftime under coach Buddy Pough. ... South Carolina State entered the game leading all Football Championship Subdivision teams in sacks (50). The Bulldogs finished with five sacks Thursday. ... Morgan State closes out the regular season Nov. 23 at Delaware State.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun