MORGAN STATE @ TOWSON
Time: 7 p.m.
Radio: WNST-1570 AM
Series: Towson leads, 16-6
What's at stake: Saturday's season opener will be a game of bragging rights for these two in-state rivals, whose campuses are separated by just five miles. The host in this series has won 15 of the past 22 games, and the Tigers have won 11 of 13 games against Morgan at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Both teams are looking to start the season strong after disappointing 2010 campaigns. The Bears finished 4-7 and had the last-ranked offense in the 117-team Football Championship Subdivision. The Tigers, meanwhile, were 1-10 a year ago, and finished with the No. 109 offense in FCS.
Key matchup: Junior Tremayne Dameron, who has run for 1,065 yards and 13 touchdowns in his career, leads the Tigers rushing attack against a tenacious Morgan State defense. The Bears welcome back Alonzo Lee as their defensive coordinator after he spent the previous two seasons as North Carolina A&T's head coach. Under Lee's defensive direction, Morgan State led the FCS in total defense in 2008. Defensive tackle Zary Stewart (40 tackles, two sacks in 2010), linebacker Allen Stephens (65 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss) and safety Reshaude Miller (67 tackles, four interceptions) are the leaders of the Bears defense. Dameron, meanwhile, leads a loaded stable of Towson backs that also includes Boston College transfer Sterlin Phifer and junior Dominque Booker.
Players to watch: Towson senior Justin Harris switched to cornerback from wide receiver near the end of last season, finishing the year with 11 tackles, one pass breakup and one forced fumble in three games. Harris stayed at cornerback through spring practice and earned a starting spot at corner this fall. For Morgan, Donovan Dickerson is expected to get the start at quarterback. The Detroit native's last action was an 8-for-25, 74-yard performance against Bethune-Cookman on Oct. 2, 2010. He was supplanted by then-redshirt freshman Delonte Williams in the starting lineup, but Dickerson won back his job this offseason.