Previewing Morgan State's football game at Norfolk State

The Baltimore Sun

MORGAN STATE (2-2, 1-0) @ NORFOLK STATE (0-4, 0-0)

When: Saturday, 4 p.m.

Site: William Price Stadium, Norfolk, Va.

Audio: 88.9 FM

Series: Norfolk State leads, 16-10

What's at stake: The Bears won their second straight game with a 38-35 victory over Howard on Saturday at the New York Urban League Classic. The program's seventh win in its past eight Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference openers was highlighted by redshirt sophomore Herb Walker Jr.'s 141 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Morgan State's first three-game winning streak since 2011 hinges on whether the team can snap a seven-game skid against Norfolk State, which has won 14 of the past 17 meetings. The Bears haven't beaten the Spartans since Nov. 4, 2006 when prevailed 29-20.

Key matchup: Saturday's game begs the question whether a high-powered offense can solve an impenetrable defense, especially in the red zone. Of the 11 trips Morgan State's offense has made inside opponents' 20-yard line, the Bears have scored touchdowns nine times. Conversely, the Spartans defense has surrendered just five touchdowns in 11 red-zone visits by the opposition. Scoring touchdowns is especially critical for the Bears, because sophomore kicker Chris Moller has converted just 3-of-7 field goals, and two of those attempts have been blocked.

Player to watch: Norfolk State's defense is tied for 11th in the Football Championship Subdivision in average yards allowed (283.0), and the centerpiece of the unit is senior outside linebacker Lynden Trail. The 2013 first-team All-American has 28 tackles, six tackles for loss and 3½ sacks. The 6-foot-7, 260-pound Trail, who had six tackles and two interceptions in Norfolk State's 27-21 win over Morgan State last year, figures to be a significant challenge for Bears senior left tackle Darren Pinnock and freshman right tackle Matthew Thompson.

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