Bears sophomore quarterback DeAndre Harris took over the reigns late in the second quarter after head coach Fred T. Farrier decided to pull starter Elijah Staley. Harris threw two touchdown passes before the half and added a 3 yard scamper that would have been a game clinching touchdown but Florida A&M answered on a 12 yard touchdown pass with under 6 minutes left to come up with a 34-31 victory.
Morgan State (1-7, 1-4) and FAMU (3-6, 2-4) made it an interesting game as both teams scored back and forth, but key penalties and a late fourth quarter interception by Harris added to the Bears defeat. The Bears also failed to capitalize on two early turnovers forced by the defense. If MSU were able to turn those turnovers into points, the outcome of the contest would have been different.
“There’s no excuses we lost the game we got too many penalties in critical situations,” said coach Farrier. “If you talk about being any type of a good football team when you play close games you gotta find a way to win them.”
Penalties and turnovers has been the Bears achilles heel all season. The Bears came into this game averaging 92.43 yards a game off penalties and have a total of 68 penalties for 647 yards and the former four-star ESPN prospect Staley, has thrown 11 total interceptions this season.
The 6’7 quarterback got the Bears on the board on a 41 yard run to tie the game at 7 but on the next possession he put the ball on the turf, which led to a Rattlers recovery for a score. That would be the last action of the game Staley would see.
Harris came into the game with poise and command of the offense. Though he threw a costly interception into triple coverage late in the fourth quarter that could have been a game winning drive, he shows a lot of promise.
“It was a bad read by me, I take full responsibility for that,” said Harris about the late fourth quarter interception.
Coach Farrier has not made a decision yet on who will be his starter for the remainder of the season. But with only three games left and a lackluster performance thus far by the starting redshirt junior quarterback, it would make more sense to give the young Harris some game reps.
He (Harris) came of age until the last interception, then went right back to being a little baby,” said coach Farrier. “DeAndre is doing a good job, he’s trying to do what we ask.”
Morgan State will be on the road for the next two games. They travel to Bethune-Cookman November 4 and Delaware State November 11, then back to Hughes Stadium to close out the season against Norfolk State.