Changes were made in the starting lineup and on the coaching staff. Something had to be done to end the slide, no matter how drastic.
Perhaps overlooked by Morgan State was how the plan for halting a season-opening, three-game losing streak already had been in place. Cheyney University was on the Bears' schedule again.
Eleven times before yesterday, that had meant a Morgan victory. And the streak continued, as senior Michael Moore threw for three touchdowns and fullback Andre Thomas rushed for 123 yards and two scores to lead the Bears past Cheyney, 38-7, at Hughes Stadium.
The Bears came in averaging 264 yards, but they had 236 by halftime. Not even a rash of penalties, such as the holding call that wiped out an apparent 67-yard touchdown pass from Moore to halfback Na'im Greene to begin the third quarter, kept Morgan down.
"We ran the ball well and we threw it well," said coach Ricky Diggs, whose team was penalized 11 times for 139 yards. "The defense was more aggressive, too, and we didn't have a turnover. But we did cause some on the other side. When you play error-free, you're going to have a chance to win."
As usual, Cheyney (0-3-1) was ripe for the taking. Its two previous losses were by a combined score of 111-10. Its defense was allowing almost 424 yards a game. No wonder the Bears rolled out the welcome mat.
"I'm 1-0 against them," Diggs said, smiling. "I don't know what happened the other 11 times."
Morgan did plenty to right itself before facing the Wolves. Six players were either moved into the lineup or to new positions, including four on the defensive line. Even the coaching staff wasn't immune to change. Linebackers/strength coach Melvin Spears became defensive coordinator, Anthony Green's responsibilities were shifted from the offensive to defensive line, and Rudy Hughes was put in charge of the offensive line.
Lots of shuffling. Lots to show for it.
A defense that had given up 157 points in three games had Cheyney quarterback Jonathan Flynn on the run. The offense, averaging 12 points coming in, racked up 463 yards. Moore passed for 258 and didn't throw an interception.
Trailing 7-0, the Bears marched 85 yards in 14 plays with Moore throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to senior Elijah Cameron.
Senior Lonnie Moore had grabbed a 23-yard pass on third down from the Morgan 49 to keep the drive going.
Morgan took only its second lead of the season, 10-7, with 6:37 left in the half when Griffiths kicked a 20-yard field goal.
The Bears scored on their third straight possession when Moore lobbed an 8-yard pass to junior tight end Ira Crawley, who reached above Cheyney's James Long in the right corner. Griffiths' conversion gave Morgan a 17-7 halftime lead.
Thomas scored on runs of 7 and 3 yards in the third quarter, and Lonnie Moore caught a 30-yard touchdown pass with 11:38 left in the game.
Cheyney .. ..7 0 0 0 -- 7
Morgan State 7 10 14 7 -- 38
C -- Johnson 30 pass from Flynn (Harmon kick)
MS -- Cameron 13 pass from Moore (Griffiths kick)
MS -- FG Griffiths 20
MS -- Crawley 8 pass from Moore (Griffiths kick)
MS -- Thomas 7 run (Griffiths kick)
MS -- Thomas 3 run (Griffiths kick)
MS -- Moore 30 pass from Moore (Griffiths kick)
Next for Morgan
Opponent: South Carolina State
Site: Hughes Stadium
When: Oct. 7, 1:30 p.m.