HAMPTON (3-3)@ MORGAN STATE (3-2)
When: Today, 1 p.m.
Site: Hughes Stadium, Baltimore
Audio: WEAA 88.9 FM
Series: Morgan State leads 38-24-2
What's at stake: After a slow start — their second in as many games — the Bears exploded in the second half, rolling over Savannah State, 42-3, a week ago. That victory helped Morgan State to remain undefeated in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference at 3-0 and in a tie for first place with Bethune-Cookman (5-1 overall and 3-1 in the league). The Bears, who captured a share of last year's conference title, can win their first four MEAC contests since 1979 with a victory over the Pirates, who have dropped their last two meetings with Morgan State. Hampton snapped a two-game losing streak by defeating Delaware State, 21-7, on Saturday. But the Pirates are 5-20 on the road in their last four seasons, and the program has won just five of 16 games against the Bears in Baltimore.
Key matchup: As mentioned above, Morgan State has had to overcome lethargic starts in their past two contests. A similar formula might not work against Hampton, which ranks second in the MEAC in run defense (127.0 yards per game) and third in points allowed (24.3) and total yards allowed (305.8). The Pirates also lead the league in sacks (17) and red-zone defense (65.4 conversion rate) and rank second in interceptions (six). The onus will be on redshirt senior quarterback Moses Skillon to help the Bears find their rhythm on offense quickly.
Player to watch: A Morgan State defense that ranks third in the MEAC against the pass (165.8 yards per game) and in sacks (14) will be severely tested by Hampton fifth-year senior quarterback David Watford. The Virginia transfer leads the league in passing yards per game (246.5), total offense per game (280.2) and passing touchdowns (14). The play of senior cornerbacks Delonta Hall and DeShaun Summers could be critical in the Bears' pass coverage.