DOVER, DEL. — DOVER, Del. -- The Hornets' Nest was packed with danger for any visiting football team yesterday, and Morgan State had the misfortune of being on the schedule.
In a game that was much more lopsided than the score indicates, Delaware State stayed unbeaten in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with a 65-42 victory over the shellshocked Bears on its homecoming day.
The Hornets scored touchdowns on their first nine possessions and thundered to a 62-7 lead against a team coming off its best game of the season against nationally ranked North Carolina A&T.;
Morgan (2-5, 0-4) was ahead for a total of two minutes and 20 seconds. A 37-yard return of the opening kickoff by Chris Ursini and a 47-yard drive capped by quarterback Orlando Persell's touchdown run from the 27 produced a 7-0 edge with 13:17 remaining in the first period.
By the time the Bears got into the end zone again midway through the third period, they were hopelessly out of contention en route to their 10th straight MEAC defeat.
"We got so doggone far behind, it didn't matter what kind of offense we had," said Morgan coach Ricky Diggs. "But I'm proud of the way we didn't give up. We won the second half."
Delaware State coach Bill Collick brought his starting offense to the bench after his team went ahead by 55 points, but continued to play the first-team defense, basically in a prevent mode.
The Bears scored five second-half touchdowns of their own to help reinforce the MEAC's status as the most prolific offensive league in the NCAA.
They finished with 387 yards passing and Jesse Humphrey set a school record with 206 receiving yards. Humphrey also kept intact his streak of at least one touchdown reception in every game this season.
But it was far too little, far too late.
"In the first half we played as well as we have here in quite a while," said Collick, who is 9-0 against Morgan and 64-28 overall at Delaware State.
"I'm not at all disappointed with what we did today, but I am disappointed with the second half because we have to get as many people ready as we can for what's ahead."
The Hornets' still have to play North Carolina A&T; and Howard, the league's other powerhouses.
"They did a good job of ball control, keeping it out of our hands," said Diggs. "And on defense, we just didn't make the plays we needed.
"It's really difficult to get a team to the ultimate high two weeks in a row. We probably played over our heads last week. Now we have to work to find some happy medium, a businesslike approach."
Diggs said his defense was too passive in the first half.
"We just sat back too long. We were too cautious rather than reacting on instinct," he said. "Sometimes they [Delaware State] scored so quick, I didn't even see it."
The Hornets rolled up 489 offensive yards in the first half, a record against a Morgan State team, and finished with 730 to shatter the previous school record by 106 yards.
They were only 21 yards shy of the school rushing record by grinding out 497 and certainly would have broken that mark, plus the scoring high of 70, had Collick not sidelined his No. 1 unit.
"Any time you go into a place which is having homecoming, that team is going to play at a high level," said Diggs. "They were well-prepared and played themselves a fine game."
Delaware State (5-2, 3-0) answered Morgan's first touchdown by leveling the score at 7 in five plays from its own 34. After a Bears punt, the Hornets needed only three rushes to go 48 yards to a go-ahead touchdown and the rout was in progress.
A lost fumble by Morgan and six plays later, the Hornets had a 21-7 advantage, and less than three more minutes had elapsed when Aaron Spears romped 80 yards for another touchdown.
Quarterback Erik Jones even pitched in with touchdown passes of 55 and 76 yards to Derrick Neal before the half had ended, an abnormality for a team that thrives on its crunching ground game.
Three Hornets backs, Phil Anderson, Spears and Bert Watson, combined for 387 yards (all gained more than 100) and seven touchdowns in a display Morgan was powerless to stop.
It was another reminder that homecomings are much better at home.
'Morgan State 7 0 7 28 -- 42
Delaware State 28 20 14 3 -- 65
NEXT FOR MORGAN
When: Saturday at Tallahassee, Fla.
Yesterday: Played Albany (Ga.)