Last season, Morgan State was one of the least sacked teams in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. They're even better this fall -- the Bears are the least-sacked team in the league.
Through six games, redshirt senior quarterback Robert Council has been sacked just seven times – a number that leads the MEAC and is tied for 20th among Football Championship Subdivision teams.
Coach Lee Hull directed much of the credit to an offensive line composed of three seniors in left tackle Darren Pinnock, center Clarence Swain and right guard Randon Key, redshirt freshman left guard Dominique Woods, and freshman right tackle Matthew Thompson (Perry Hall).
"We have a veteran offensive line," Hull said Tuesday during a conference call arranged by the league. "We have four starters back from last year, and our fifth guy is a true freshman, but Matt has done a great job. Our offensive line has taken him under their wings, and he has flourished."
Another factor has been Council's mobility. Council is tied for sixth in MEAC in rushing with 386 yards, and his ability to get out of the pocket has helped blunt opponents' pass rush.
"Robert understands what we need to do in the passing game, and he understands that we don't want to take sacks, and if it's not there, he'll take off and run," Hull said. "He's gotten rid of the football when he's gotten out of the pocket so that he wouldn't get sacked.
"So, it's a combination of a lot of things. And also, our running backs have done a great job of protecting. So they take some pride in that, and one thing they know is, we have to throw the ball. We can't be one-dimensional. So the O-line and Robert have taken a lot of pride in that."
Morgan State's next opponent, North Carolina Central have recorded just 10 sacks thus far, but Eagles coach Jerry Mack noted that few defenses have forced the Bears into obvious passing downs.
"We've just got to do a great job of stressing to our defensive tackles and ends about one-on-one moves," he said Tuesday. "They're not passing the ball in a lot of games because they can generate a lot of yards and a lot of momentum on the ground.
"So, that's kind of part of it as well. But their offensive line has done a great job of protecting their passer. So we've got to do a great job of coaching up our defensive front to get after the passer."