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Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC

Hal LamarBy Hal Lamar

Morehouse vs. Alabama A&M-greatest game the 'House has ever lost!

The kickoff of the 2019 fooball season of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) beteen current member Morehouse and a former conference partner Alabama A&M was an excellent choice to launch the first contest put on by the august movers and shakers of the Black College Hall of game. I'm not sure they could have picked a better pairing. This contest, featuring a Division I vs. Division II colleges was , in the opinion of this writer, the greatest game A&M won or for that matter, Morehouse ever lost!

By this time , those of you hiding in a cave or with your head in the sand as an excuse for not knowing, the Bulldogs prevailed 35-30 in a white knuckle, profuse sweat generating , pulse pounding excitement before 9776 fans (pretty good).

First, I think A&M got a bit too comfortable when they took at 28-10 lead with 4:20 to go in the third period. Even hard core Morehouse fans thought the game had degeneraed into a rout.

A&M had good reason to think the game was in the bag, perhaps. Notwithstanding a score early-on in the third period, Bulldog QB Aqeel Glass threw another strike with 4:20 to go in the same period to grab a seemingly comfortable lead. And I'm sure it was not lost on hard-core Bulldog fans, a few veteran players and maybe even some coaches that since 1952, A&M dominated their on again-off again series with the Marooners 20-5. In fact, Morehouse hadn't beaten A&M since their 21-12 triumph in 1959. Their series took a break in 1998 (and fortunately so since that's the same year that the Maroon Tigers went 0-11!) . In fact, this year's meeting was the first between the two schools in 20 years (by that time, A&M had left the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference for the Southwestern Athletic Conference and graduated from Division two to Division one in 1998).aamu connell maynorMaynor

Back to 2019. Apparently Morehouse had little time to dwell on won-loss, series history and the like. They were too busy trying to overcome that three TD deficit. They did that too, scoring once in the third and twice in the fourth with the firsr two scores the result of key interceptions from senior linebacker Julien Turner and junior defensive back Micaiah Paige. Paige grabbed the oval deep in A&M territory and behind great blocking from the Morehouse defense, raced 74 yards to set up the score moving the 'House to within four points of the Bulldog lead. Then with 1:01 remaiing in the game, Morehouse drove 8 plays, 53 yards to score in Walter Peyton fashion, diving into the end zone.

They had the lead 30-28.

A&M, meanwhile, appeared to remain cool in the face of blowing that commanding lead.

With only a handful of seconds remaining A&M took the oval from their 39, drove 61 yards in 49 seconds and scored.mhc santo dunnDunn

"We were within field goal range," commented A&M Head Coach Connell Maynor, now in his second year. "We could risk going to the end zone first because it was second down and we had the time (9 seconds worth)." If we failed with the pass, we could come back for the field goal."

Although it's a tough loss for Morehouse, it also sends out a strong message to future opponents, both conference and non-conference. It also exposed another of their rostered quarterbacks, junior Jalen Brown. He spelled starting quarterback Michael Sims and accounted well for himself in the second half, completing 10 of his 14 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns. The Marooners also appear solid in the backfield with junior running backs Santo Dunn of Miami, Florida and Frank Bailey , a native son who played high school football at South Atlanta.mhc frank baileyBailey

Statistically, Morehouse won the contest. The Maroon Tigers racked up 436 total yards, just 20 yards shy of A&M's 456. Morehouse fumbled 3 times and lost one. A&M fumbled 3 times and lost all three. Morehouse outrushed their opponents 130 to 57 and kept the ball offensively 37:35 to 22:22 for A&M . The achilles heel for Morehouse was penalties: 142 to 85.

INSIDE OBSERVATIONS: Alabama A&M actually escaped with the 35-30 win. . They will have to play much, much better against future opponents and find ways to preserve their leads better. A&M is predicted to finish second behind Alcorn in the SWAC eastern division....... .Morehouse will have to cut down on their on-field mistakes and do a better job of stopping the rush from their opponents....

XTRA POINTS:.It was announced at the game that next year's opponents at the Hall of Fame classic will be Division I's Howard against anothe D-2 and SIAC school, Central State of Ohio. Good pairing and it will spare both college's travel budget...... I think Division II vs Division I is an excellent idea, an ideal pairing for this or any other classic........I still believe that the movers and shakers behind this game should have left it and the Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

Central State (Ohio) over Quincy
Robert Morris over Kentucky State
SC State over Lane
Tuskegee over Alabama State
Benedict ovr Fauetteville State
Miles over Ft Valley State
Florida Tech over Savannah State
Valdosta State over Albany State
Liingstone over CAU
Morehouse over Edward Waters


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