Morgan State at Richmond FCS Football 2014 Playoffs 1st Round Game Breakdown

George Hammond


Morgan State at Richmond, Saturday, 1:00

The University of Richmond (8-4, 5-3) could safely say it was the last team that made the 24-team field. The Spiders, making their first postseason appearance since 2009, defeated Colonial Athletic Association rival William & Mary 34-20 late Saturday night to punch their ticket to the playoffs. This will be Spiders’ coach Danny Rocco’s first playoff appearance in nine years as a highly successful FCS coach. The third-year coach had several outstanding seasons at Liberty, but the Flames never got a bid while Rocco was coach.

Meanwhile, Morgan State wasn’t even mentioned as a possible MEAC contender until late in the year. But as other teams started losing, the Bears (7-5, 6-2) kept winning and earned the conference’s automatic bid to the playoffs. Morgan State was one of five MEAC teams tied at 5-2 atop the standings, but the Bears earned the bid via the league’s tie-breaker and earned a share of the league crown for the first time in 35 years. Morgan State, which was picked to finish last in the MEAC preseason poll, will be making its first playoff appearance.

The winner of this game will visit seventh seed Coastal Carolina on December 6th. MEAC teams haven’t fared well in the postseason. They are 6-27 in the playoffs and have not advanced past the first round since 1999. Morgan State and Richmond share two common opponents. Richmond defeated Hampton 42-17 and beat Villanova 10-9 while Morgan State beat Hampton 38-35 but lost to Villanova 48-28.

Despite the loss to Villanova, Morgan State showed its merit in that contest. The Bears were tied with Villanova at 21-21 at halftime before the Wildcats outscored Morgan State 27-0 in the third quarter. Quarterback Moses Skillon showed his skills that day as he threw for 204 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 77 yards and two scores.

The game’s outcome could hinge on two areas. Morgan State must win the turnover battle and statistics show the Bears can. They are ranked 38th nationally in turnover margin while Richmond is 117th. Also, Morgan State is ranked second nationally in passing yards allowed (141.4 ypg), while Richmond is averaging over 300 yards passing. If Morgan State can succeed in those two areas, it has a shot to stay close. If it doesn’t, Richmond could roll.

Projected Score: Richmond 34, Morgan State 20


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