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Limiting Adrian Wilkins helped Morgan State beat North Carolina Central

In North Carolina Central's 48-35 victory over South Carolina State on Oct. 11, redshirt junior wide receiver Adrian Wilkins caught 12 passes for 144 yards and one touchdown.

Morgan State was intent on avoiding a similar performance on Saturday.

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Showing occasional double coverage, the Bears (4-3 overall and 3-1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) paid special attention to Wilkins, who caught seven balls for 56 yards Morgan's 21-20 win at Hughes Stadium.

The 56 yards were the second-lowest of the season for Wilkins, who entered leading the league in receptions (40) and ranked second in receiving yards (497).

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"We wanted to try to keep [Wilkins] from [going] off," Hull said. "He's a good football player. Once he gets going, that makes a difference in their offense."

In the first three quarters, Wilkins caught all five passes thrown in his direction, resulting in 51 yards. But in the final quarter, he was targeted just twice, catching one for five yards.

Senior strong safety Paul Eatman Jr. said the secondary tried to throw Wilkins off his routes and disrupt his timing with redshirt sophomore quarterback Malcolm Bell.

"Our intent is to play hands-on and be physical every game," Eatman said. "We want to go out there and be the most physical defense."

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The strategy against Wilkins was part of a larger game plan to persuade the Eagles (3-4, 2-1) to run the ball rather than throw it. North Carolina Central rushed for 193 yards, which was the team's third-highest of the season.

But the MEAC's second-most prolific passing attack at 225.1 yards per game collected just 212 passing yards, which was the offense's third-lowest total this fall.

“[Assistant head coach and defensive coordinator John] Morgan [Jr.] and the defensive staff did a great job of game planning and figuring out what they were doing,” Hull said. “… We knew they wanted to throw the ball. That’s what they like to do. They don’t like to run it. Once we stopped their passing, they ran the ball a little bit more and got some yards on us, but it was a bend-don’t-break defense. That’s kind of who we are.”

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