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Morgan State football scores, but stays winless with 49-17 loss to North Carolina A&T

The Baltimore Sun

Morgan State scored points for the first time this season on Saturday night. The Bears had been blanked in their first three games and finally got on the scoreboard early in the second half against North Carolina A&T.

Breaking that long scoring slump proved to be the highlight of Morgan State’s evening, though, as it struggled with a potent North Carolina A&T attack as the Aggies rolled to a 49-17 victory in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Hughes Stadium.

Morgan State (0-4, 0-1 MEAC) snapped its long scoring drought when quarterback Elijah Staley threw an 83-yard touchdown pass to Brian Gentry. Staley threw a long pass to Gentry racing along the right sideline, and the junior took it to the end zone for the Bears’ first points this season.

That play came 1:02 into the second half ended a scoreless drought of 211:02 since the start of the season. The Bears added 10 points in the fourth quarter on Luke Uransel’s 40-yard field goal, and Jai Franklin’s 41-yard fumble return for another touchdown.

"I believe scoring just boosted our whole team," Franklin said. "Guys were excited for the first time this whole season. It gave us energy, it gave us life."

Staley threw for 303 yards, much of which came in the second half after the Aggies had taken command. The quarterback also was hurt by defensive back Mac McCain, who intercepted him three times, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

"We felt like in the first three games there was some opportunities for us to score," Morgan State coach Fred T. Farrier said. "Our focus is on doing things the right way, not necessarily trying to score one touchdown to change things. At the end of the day, we're still making too many mistakes."

The Morgan State defense experienced trouble from the start against a North Carolina A&T offense that entered the game averaging 45.3 points and 456 yards per game while starting 3-0.

The Aggies were tough to stop as they passed and ran effectively. North Carolina A&T (4-0, 1-0) finished with 514 yards of total offense, 169 yards passing and 345 rushing.

Quarterback Lamar Raynard completed 16 of 25 for 169 yards and three touchdowns. Marquell Cartwright ran for 176 yards and one touchdown. Elijah Bell made four catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.

Morgan State moved the ball at times early, but even its best drive ended up poorly in the first half. The Bears started at their own 25 and quickly pushed it downfield late in the second quarter, facing a second-and-goal from the Aggies 5-yard line with 8.4 seconds left.

Staley threw to the right side of the end zone, but the pass got picked off by McCain, who ended the half with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown that gave North Carolina A&T a 35-0 halftime lead.

The Aggies began the first half the way they ended it with Cartwright breaking free for a 72-yard touchdown run just 50 seconds into the game. Raynard threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Bell on the next possession just over five minutes later for a 14-0 lead.

Raynard tossed a 9-yard scoring pass to Jamari Smith midway through the second quarter and found Bell again late in the half for a 31-yard score.

The McCain interception came on the next drive before Morgan State finally scored. North Carolina A&T scored again on its next possession for a 42-7 lead in the third quarter. The Bears started moving once more before McCain struck again, picking off Staley at the 1-yard line.

McCain stopped Morgan State once more in the fourth quarter, intercepting Staley and returning it for a 78-yard touchdown. The defensive back now has three interceptions returned for touchdowns in the past two games.

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