Hampton Prevails Over Morgan State

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Hampton University wasted little time in lighting up the scoreboard and cruised to a 49-37 victory at the New York Urban League 34th Annual Football Classic in front of 42,682 fans on September 25th.

The Pirates went long on their first play from scrimmage when Princeton Shepherd connected with Jerome Mathis for a 65-yard touchdown pass. On the ensuing possession MSU turned the ball over on its second play when Bradshaw Littlejohn's pass was picked-off by LB Justin Durant at the Bears' 27-yard line. The Bears' defense stiffened and held the Pirates to a Andrew Paterini field goal to help his team take a 9-0 lead with 10:20 remaining in the first quarter. Hampton (4-0, 2-0 MEAC), ranked No. 1 in the Sheridan Black College Poll and No. 20 in I-AA Football, added to its lead on their next drive when Shepherd hooked up with Dereck Faulkner for a 41-yard TD pass and a 16-0 cushion with 8:01 still remaining in the 1st quarter.

Shepherd had an exceptional night for the Pirates as he finished the night by connecting on 12-of-23 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Morgan State (1-3, 0-1 MEAC) put together its first sustained drive toward the end of the 1st quarter. Littlejohn tossed a 51-yarder to wideout Kelvin Dickens and a 15-yarder to RB Jason Jackson to help set up his own 2-yard TD run to cut the Pirates' lead to 16-6.

Hampton marched back down the field with an 8-play, 53-yard drive as they took advantage of two 3rd down conversions and a personal foul penalty to help set up a 21-yard quarterback draw for a touchdown by Shepherd. The Pirates held a commanding 23-6 lead at the end of the 1st quarter. MSU got back on the scoreboard midway through the 2nd quarter following a defensive stand by the Bears which forced Hampton's punt unit on to the field. Camaron Muro's punt was blocked by Kendall Jackson and covered in the endzone by Larry Dixon to pull the Bears to 23-12.

The Pirates held a 29-12 halftime lead, following two field goals of 30 and 31 yards by Paterini. The Bears stumbled out of the gate in the opening minutes of the second half when an errant Littlejohn pass was intercepted by LB Justin Durant and returned 25-yards "to the house" giving the Pirates a 36-12 advantage. The interception marked the third time in four games that a Littlejohn pass has been returned for a score.

MSU ended up scoring on its next possession when Littlejohn threw a strike to wideout Tommy Manus to cut the score to 36-18 at the 11:18 mark of the 3rd quarter. Ardell Daniels rounded out the scoring for Hampton as he scored on runs of 4-yards and 5-yards. Daniels finished the night with 111 yards on 15 carries (7.4 avg). Littlejohn kept the game interesting by rushing for two touchdowns and hitting Larry Dixon in the endzone for a 30-yard TD. Unfortunately for the Bears, their comeback attempt ran out of time as Hampton came away with a 49-37 victory.

The teams combined for 921 yards of total offense. Hampton racked up 469 total yards, while the Bears finished with 452. Despite throwing three interception on the evening, Littlejohn completed 28-of-47 passes for 340 yards and added 84 rushing yards. "The Big Show" accounted for five touchdowns (3 rushing & 2 passing).

Durant led the Pirates on defense Saturday, collecting 13 total hits (7 solo) and two interceptions. Brian Houston finished with 6 tackles, while Reginald Knox collected 11 tackles. Linebacker Vincent Brown led MSU's defense with 12 stops, two tackles for loss, and a sack. Carlos Watts finished with 9 tackles, while Terrell Floyd recorded 7 tackles two tackles for loss and a sack.

MSU wideout Kelvin Dickens had a great night for the Bears as he hauled in seven (7) catches for a game-high 147 yards. Manus finished with six (6) receptions for 20 yards and a score, while Deon Trotter collected six (6) for 65 yards.

(Source Credit: MU Sports Information)

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