FROM WIRE REPORTS
RICHMOND, Va. – As the Morgan State Bears took their very first steps into the FCS playoffs, they found out this afternoon that the lessons learned in this part of the season can be painful and costly.
One of those lessons was that when you don’t take care of the football, your time in the playoffs will be short.
The Bears learned that lesson the hard way in their 46-24 loss to the 16th-ranked Richmond Spiders at Robins Stadium.
Richmond advances to the second round and will face No. 7 seed Coastal Carolina.
“We got into a 22-0 hole and then we tried to scratch our way back,” Coach Lee Hull said. “I did think our team — as they have done all year long — fought and kept fighting for 60 minutes. But when you dig yourself in a hole that early, it’s hard to overcome.”
Morgan State quarterback Moses Skillon had a rough day for the Bears as he completed 23 of his 45 passes for 285 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Skillon also fumbled, but rushed for 36 yards and a touchdown as well.
Richmond struck first and often in this game. Spiders quarterback Michael Strauss threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Diggs with 12:03 remaining to give the Spiders an early 7-0 lead.
Then not too long after, Skillon’s first pass of the day was intercepted by Justin Grant. The turnover led to a 1-yard TD run by Seth Fisher with 7:06 left. Strauss’ pass to Brian Brown for the two-point conversion extended the Spider’s advantage to 15-0.
Richmond (9-4) added another score on another 1-yard TD run from Fisher with 51 second left in the first quarter. Peter Yoder’s extra point gave the Spiders a commanding 22-0 lead.
Morgan State (7-6) finally responded in the second quarter. It started on a Chris Moller 29-yard field goal with 12:41 left to make it 22-3 Richmond. Then Skillon struck on the next Bears possession with a 3-yard TD run with 9:10 left. Moller’s extra point cut the deficit to 22-10, giving the Bears some life and a chance to really make things interesting.
However, Richmond struck back. After converting a big fourth down play, Strauss threw his second TD pass to Diggs. This time, it was from 11 yards out. Yoder’s extra point extended the Spider lead to 29-10 with 20 seconds left in the first half. That turned out to be the halftime score.
Too late for Bears
Richmond jumped on the Bears in the third quarter defensively as Evan Kelly sacked Skillon, forced and recovered a fumble at the MSU 22. One play later, Strauss threw his third touchdown pass of the day. This time, the pass went to Fisher, who caught it from 22 yards out with 13:22 left. Yoder’s extra point extended the Spider lead to 36-10. That was Fisher’s third touchdown of the day.
Strauss had quite a day, completing 22 of 32 passes for 272 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
Morgan State got something going later on in the third quarter. That was when Skillon threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to Andrew King with 5:40 left in the third quarter. Moller’s extra point cut the deficit to 36-17.