ORANGEBURG, S.C. -- Much to his dismay, Morgan State coach Ricky Diggs saw the the "real" South Carolina State yesterday.
"On film I knew S.C. State had to be the best 1-3 team in the country, but they had lost a couple of last-minute games," Diggs said after the Bears dropped a 31-14 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference decision at Dawson-Bulldog Stadium.
Morgan State won the battle of the stats but couldn't match S.C. State's ability to come up with the clutch plays. The Bears (2-3, 0-2) compiled 329 yards total offense to the home team's 285.
Morgan State quarterback Orlando Persell completed 17 of 31 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns.
S.C. State out-rushed the Bears, 259-84.
"We wanted to get in front early and take them out of their running game, but our wide receivers were not reading the coverages [at key times]," Diggs said.
S.C. State's Frankie Sanders, starting at tailback because of a shoulder injury to Dion Summers, gained 145 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
S.C. State took a 7-0 lead on Marvin Marshall's 5-yard run. Morgan tied the score on a 33-yard pass from Persell to Dondeal Mixon.
The Bulldogs took a 10-7 lead on a 25-yard field goal by Matt Young.
S.C. State passed up a field goal and pulled off a fourth-and-sixth gamble at the 11, as the clock ran down in the first half, Sanders scoring on a draw play for a 17-7 margin with 42 seconds left in the half.