The quarterback duo of junior Robert Council and freshman Moses Skillon combined for 18 passes, completing seven for 104 yards in Morgan State’s 28-14 loss to Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foe Howard Saturday at William H. Greene Stadium in Washington, D.C.
The number of passing attempts is certainly not the lowest for the offense this season, but Council and Skillon finished with more interceptions (three) than touchdown passes (zero). And in the fourth quarter when the Bears (2-6 overall and 2-2 in the MEAC) trailed by just a touchdown and a two-point conversion, they ran 11 running plays and just three passing plays.
As the pair struggled to replace starting junior Seth Higgins (sprained right shoulder) and connect with receivers wearing Morgan State jerseys, coach Donald Hill-Eley said the offense elected to stick to running the football.
“We have Council and Skillon, who came into the game and are both seasoned and have played, but they’re guys who haven’t had snaps in the last two weeks because of Seth and his production and his success,” Hill-Eley said. “And now when you put them in the game, you at some point – when the passes are not happening and they’re not moving – have to take the game out of their hands.
"We ran the ball. I thought we ran the ball well. It’s just that when it came down to those opportunities of making the plays in the red zone, we didn’t. We ended up calling a pass, and [it was] a tipped pass and interception. We ended up calling a pass, [and it was] a fade and interception. It’s situations where we had two interceptions in the red zone, and you can’t say, ‘Well, you’ve should done this, you should’ve done that.’ What was there, we took it, and they came up and they made plays.”
The Bears’ decision to dial back the playbook played into the hands of the Bison defense, according to Howard junior free safety Cameron Alston.
“We expected them to run the ball,” Alston said. “We knew they were a running team based on film, and we knew they were trying to get downhill. So it helped us out, and we were prepared well.”
Higgins is Morgan State’s best running quarterback as he has accumulated 282 yards and four touchdowns on 57 carries. But he’s also the team’s best passer, having completed 37-of-70 passes for 452 yards and five touchdowns.
His status for Saturday’s home game against Hampton is still uncertain, but his return could help the offense regain its balance and threaten defenses on the ground and through the air.