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Donald Hill-Eley sees positives in Morgan State's loss to Army

For the fourth time in the past six years, Morgan State opened the season with a loss. But rather than be demoralized by last Friday night’s 28-12 setback to Army, Bears coach Donald Hill-Eley found a few positives to be gleaned from the result.

“It was a great matchup,” Hill-Eley said in a conference call Tuesday morning organized by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. “I thought our guys played well. Minus a few mistakes here and there and a turnover, it would’ve been a totally different ballgame. But that’s what comes with the first game, and we went in knowing that we were going against one of the most well-recognized and one of the most disciplined teams in the country. In their first ballgame, they did not have one penalty, and we completed the first half with eight and also a turnover. When you’re playing a team like that and a team that is running off eight- and nine-play drives and you’re also playing in the upper division, those types of mistakes become your Achilles heel.”

Hill-Eley said Morgan State players may have had a few opening-game jitters. The sight of a large crowd of cadets in the crowd at Mitchie Stadium in West Point, N.Y., and cannons firing off around the field may have unnerved some of the players, Hill-Eley speculated.

“I think once everyone settled down, it was a totally different team in all phases of the game when we came out of the locker room [for the second half],” he said.

The Bears finished the contest penalized nine times for a loss of 65 yards, including seven of the pre-snap variety. The Black Knights were not flagged for a single infraction, which caught Hill-Eley’s attention.

“Army is the first team I’ve gone against that did not have one penalty or one turnover in a game,” he said. “Whether there were things that were questionable or not, it just wasn’t called. But it’s possible. Like we tell our guys, some of those things and penalties we had are control fouls. We can control being offsides. We can control things of that nature and alignment and those types of things. We’re going to take a lot from that game.”

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