At 0-5, the Morgan State football team is off to its worst start since 2000 and opened its Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference campaign with a 27-21 loss to Norfolk State on Saturday.
Despite having to fight an uphill battle, coach Donald Hill-Eley said the program’s preseason goals are still attainable. He pointed out that the Bears are just one game behind North Carolina A&T (3-0 overall and 1-0 in the league), South Carolina State (3-2, 1-0), Delaware State (1-3, 1-0) and Norfolk State (1-3, 1-0) in the conference standings.
“That’s the thing you continue to put in front of your team,” he said Tuesday morning during a conference call arranged by the MEAC. “When you look at the records of the whole conference and then you look at the win-loss records in the conference, there are a lot of teams that we have in our conference that had great success out-of-conference. But when you come back to the meat of everything that you play for, there are maybe only four teams that have one win in the conference. So it’s a very early race, and we just have to continue to take care of what we have from week to week.”
Still, the odds of Morgan State reversing course would appear to be long. The team dropped a winnable contest against the Spartans, who had also been winless prior to last weekend. And the Bears will finish the regular season with four of their last seven games away from Hughes Stadium.
The players’ frustrations were evident after that loss to Norfolk State, and Hill-Eley acknowledged that his job is to help raise team morale.
“You just try to hang your hat on the mistakes that you made and how if you can take those five plays and turn them around, you’re talking about a different ballgame,” he said. “And with anything else, if you’re dropping games, everybody’s morale is down, including the players. My charge to them is to continue to think about things where you didn’t think the outcome was going to be good and it ended up working in your favor because you have to lean not on your own understanding in these times and continue to work and press and press and press until things happen. Don’t continue to put your eyes behind you with what would’ve, could’ve. Still look at the opportunity you have to change the things ahead.”