No homecoming at Morgan State would be complete without a parade, a rousing halftime show by the marching band, and a defeat.
Old habits die hard.
The Bears scored the last 29 points yesterday, but still extended their homecoming winless streak to 16 years with a 38-32 loss to North Carolina A&T; before 5,569 at Hughes Stadium.
The Aggies played textbook football on a muddy field, establishing the run early, then going to the air. It wasn't daring, but it kept the Bears down.
"Most of our problems came from being out-manned and out-sized," said Morgan coach Ricky Diggs. "Physically, they beat us tackle to tackle. They were blowing us off the ball."
The last time Morgan's festive weekend included a victory was 1979, when it defeated the Aggies, 29-9.
"This is very disappointing," said senior quarterback Michael Moore, who got hot late and finished 20 of 35 for 294 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. "As a senior, you want one [homecoming win] before you go."
North Carolina A&T; punted on its first series, then scored the next three times it had the ball.
Freshman Reginald Shufford's 27-yard run on first down set up a 9-yard touchdown pass from Maseo Bolin to senior tight end Carlos Baldwin. Two plays, 36 yards, and the Aggies were in business.
Morgan countered with a 22-yard field goal by Shane Griffiths, but North Carolina A&T; went back to work. Six straight runs got the Aggies to the Bears' 36, and James Bowden raced 15 yards on a reverse for another touchdown.
The Bears drove to North Carolina A&T;'s 17 before Brian Pittman came up with the Aggies' first interception this year, snaring a pass over the middle. Bolin then threw for his second touchdown, this one 15 yards to junior Marvin Bagley with 1:46 left in the half. By then, Shufford had 87 of the Aggies' 152 yards on the ground, Bolin had completed seven of nine passes for 76 yards, and Morgan was staring at another loss.
But it didn't go without a fight.
"You don't have to worry about these guys," said Diggs, whose team is 0-3 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and 1-5 overall. "They don't ever quit."
The Aggies (1-1, 3-3) made sure their three-game losing streak was history by jumping on Morgan again early in the third quarter. The Bears were penalized for having 12 men on the field on an A&T; punt, resulting in a first down for the Aggies and subsequent 38-yard touchdown pass to Bagley.
Bolin (12 of 16, 151 yards) came out with 4:09 left in the third quarter, and his replacement, sophomore Al Holland, tossed a 31-yard touchdown to James Harris on fourth down for a 38-3 lead.
There was plenty of life in the Bears, though. Sophomore Na'im Greene caught an 11-yard scoring pass from Moore and Otis Covington ran 11 yards up the middle for a fourth-quarter touchdown after replacing Moore at quarterback.
Moore returned on the next series and hooked up with Lonnie Moore for a 19-yard touchdown, then hit Covington from 10 yards out with 1:32 showing.
"Everybody just decided to suck it up," said Michael Moore. "We have a lot of pride."
:0North Carolina A&T; ..7 ..14 ..17 ..0 ..-- ..38
Morgan State .. .. ..3 ...0 ...8 .21 .-- ...32
Next for Morgan
Opponent: Delaware State
Site: Alumni Field, Dover, Del.
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
3' Yesterday: Lost to Fla. A&M;, 24-21.