When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Site: Hughes Stadium
Radio: 88.9 FM
Series: Norfolk State leads 15-10
What's at stake: Morgan State's 0-4 start is the program's first since 2001 — the year before coach Donald Hill-Eley's arrival — but all four losses occurred on the road. The Bears open Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play Saturday; they have dropped their past six conference games, including a 30-0 loss to the Spartans last Nov. 10. Norfolk State has won the past six meetings between the league rivals and has not lost in Baltimore since 2003, when Morgan State won, 43-34. But this Spartans team is a shadow of the 2011 squad that captured the MEAC championship. Since going 7-1 in the league and 9-3 overall that season, Norfolk State has lost 10 of 14 contests, including dropping six of eight MEAC games last fall. A victory Saturday would provide a significant psychological boost for either side.
Key matchup: Much has been made about the carousel at quarterback for the Bears, who could go with either junior Seth Higgins (Edgewood), redshirt freshman Moses Skillon or junior Robert Council as Saturday's starter. But the Spartans have given sophomores Tyler Clark, Malik Stokes and Omari Timmons each a start while awaiting the return of senior Nico Flores, who is serving the last of a four-game suspension for academic issues. None of his replacements has stood out as the undisputed starter for Saturday's game.
Player to watch: Senior cornerback Joe Rankin leads Morgan State in interceptions with two, and he has some company in that department. Sophomore linebacker Bill Hill, sophomore free safety Peterson Javier and sophomore cornerback DeShaun Summers each have an interception to lift the Bears into a tie for 18th in the Football Championship Subdivision in the category.