Resilient Eagles look to rebound against Morgan State today
Two teams playing .500 ball in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference will try to get a leg up today in the race for the league title that guarantees a Football Championship Subdivision playoff berth.
It’s N.C. Central’s homecoming. Morgan State wants to spoil it.
NCCU (1-5, 1-1 MEAC) seemingly would be motivated to play inspired football not only to give the homecoming crowd something good to talk about but also to recalibrate after a 44-3 punch in the mouth from S.C. State on national TV last week.
“We’re still alive,” NCCU interim coach Dwayne Foster said. “We’ve got a lot of football to play.”
Against S.C. State, NCCU quarterback Jordan Reid became the 11th quarterback in school history to pass for more than 3,000 yards. Reid managed to throw for 116 yards against S.C. State despite being sacked five times.
Reid has to stay upright today against Morgan State (2 p.m., NCCUEaglePride.com), Foster said. NCCU’s running backs must make their blocks and Reid needs to get rid of the ball in a timely manner, but it all starts up front, said Foster, who is in charge of the Eagles offensive linemen.
“As an offensive line, we put that on our shoulders to make sure that we get (Reid) as comfortable as he possibly can (be),” Foster said.
NCCU still is running the ball consistently and the defense is giving up too many yards, Foster said.
“We’ve been an inconsistent football team in a lot of areas,” Foster said.
Special teams, though, is where the Eagles have soared. Morgan State coach Donald Hill-Eley said NCCU’s special teams are among the best in the FCS, and he figures the Eagles know all about the two touchdowns the Bears (1-5, 1-1 MEAC) gave up on special teams.
“They’re really firing in all three phases,” said Hill-Eley, making the argument that NCCU actually has been rushing for 100 yards a game if all of the Eagles’ negative gains are excluded.
Hill-Eley said he’s not counting on an advantage on account of the Eagles still hanging their heads from the S.C. State loss.
“That team is just as resilient as the coaches that they have there,” Hill-Eley said. “I’m quite sure they’ve learned from whatever miscues they had (a week ago).
“It’s not like that we’re expecting them to come and roll their helmets out. That’s their homecoming,” Hill-Eley continued. “That one game doesn’t exemplify the character or the talent that that team has.”