'Worst performance' dooms Morgan State Florida A&M; rolls to 41-14 victory

ORLANDO, FLA. — ORLANDO, Fla. -- Sophomore tailback Kwame Vidal rushed for 157 yards and three touchdowns yesterday to lead Florida A&M; to a 41-14 victory over Morgan State before 10,193 and a tornado watch at the Florida Citrus Bowl.

Florida A&M; improved to 4-4 overall and 2-3 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, as Morgan State (2-6, 0-5) turned in what Bears quarterback Orlando Persell called "our worst performance of the year."


"We didn't play well offensively," Morgan State coach Ricky Diggs said. "We didn't play well defensively. It was a total team effort in that loss.

"I don't know what to think because when I talk about the guys' attitudes before the game I'm just speculating because I can't get inside their heads. We just weren't mentally prepared to play this game."


This was no day to not come ready to play. Florida A&M; drove 72 yards in eight plays on its first possession, capped by Vidal's 4-yard touchdown run, for a 7-0 lead. The Bears ran three plays and punted. Florida A&M; then went 60 yards in eight plays, Vidal making it 14-0 with a 2-yard run.

Persell fumbled on Morgan State's next play from scrimmage, and Florida A&M; tackle Ervin Collier recovered on the Bears' 11-yard line. Four plays later, Tim Camron made a 28-yard field goal to put the Rattlers ahead 17-0.

"It was real frustrating," said Persell, who completed eight of 17 passes for 130 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. "We came out slow and sluggish. We didn't take advantage of our opportunities.

"Florida A&M; did what it had to do and it showed on the scoreboard."

Vidal went back to work -- with carries of 14, 12 and 18 yards -- as Florida A&M; drove 77 yards in eight plays for a 24-0 lead with 3:25 left in the half. He finished the drive with an 18-yard scamper off right tackle.

It was Florida A&M;'s first game in 15 outings without a turnover, dating to Oct. 3, 1992, against Howard.

The Rattlers also had two 100-yard rushers. Reggie Glover carried 15 times for 107 yards and Vidal, who fractured his right fibula early in the third quarter and watched the rest of the game on crutches, gained 157 on 18.

Morgan State's running game nearly went backward. The Bears carried 22 times for 25 yards, led by Tony Phillips, who netted 13 yards on nine tries.


Morgan State's points came off a 12-yard pass from Persell to Barnard Barnes with 2:26 left in the third quarter and Persell's 1-yard leap over the top with 11:34 left in the game. It was nothing, however, that Diggs would like to write home about.

"I can't put my finger on these guys," Diggs said. "It's as if they have to wait till they get down before they decide to get things cranked up. We've got a lot of young guys who are all battered and beat up, and that has a lot to do with it, too. But I don't know. We're going to try to find some answers in order to complete the season.

"The only good part about this game," Diggs added, "is it's over.



When: Saturday, at Knoxville, Tenn.


Record: 3-4

Yesterday: Played Miles College.