When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Site: Hughes Stadium
Radio: 88.9 FM WEAA
Series: Florida A&M leads, 19-4
What's at stake: Morgan State is in the midst of the program's worst start since 2000, but the Bears are just one game behind North Carolina Central, South Carolina State, Delaware State and Norfolk State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference standings. The Bears are not only seeking to shake an 11-game losing skid, they are also trying to get their first victory at home since Sept. 1, 2012, when they edged Sacred Heart, 30-27, in overtime. Morgan has not dropped its first two conference games since 2004. The Bears have split the past four meetings with Florida A&M, but the last time these teams played was 2010. The Rattlers opened the season with a 27-10 victory over Mississippi Valley State, but they have lost their past three games. Florida A&M had a bye last week.
Key matchup: Both the Bears and Rattlers rank in the top four in the conference in pass defense, but that may be a product of opponents finding success running the ball against them. Still, Morgan State could gain an advantage if it can disrupt junior quarterback Damien Fleming, whose six interceptions are the most in the MEAC. If the Bears can generate a consistent pass rush, that might give senior cornerback Joe Rankin an opportunity to add to his team-leading two interceptions.
Player to watch: Junior quarterback Seth Higgins (Edgewood) appears to have cemented his status as the Bears' starter after he went wire-to-wire in last week's 27-21 loss to Norfolk State. Higgins' running ability (12 carriers for 63 yards and two touchdowns against the Spartans) takes some of the pressure off the offensive line, but he must improve on a 5-of-14 passing performance for just 83 yards to spark Morgan State to that elusive first win.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun