Homefield Disadvantage: MEAC Road Teams Roll

Hampton’s Denzel Heath moves the ball against Norfolk State. (Daily Press photo)

Saturday was a good day to be on the road in MEAC football. Delaware State, Howard, Hampton and Morgan won a total of just one game prior to the start of conference play, but all four picked up wins on the road on Saturday. The only home team to handle business was Bethune-Cookman, who easily disposed of Savannah State 48-41.

Morgan State (2-5, 2-1) and Howard got the added satisfaction of spoiling their opponents homecoming games. Morgan jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead against NCCU, using its running game to control the clock and capitalizing on four NC Central (3-4, 1-2) turnovers. Quarterback Seth Higgins had a big first half, throwing and running for touchdowns and helping his team to a 24-10 halftime lead before sitting out the second half with a shoulder injury. NCCU would make a comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, but the rally fell short and the Eagles fell 34-22, dropping their third-straight home game.

// Similarly, Howard (2-5, 1-3) got off to a fast start against FAMU (2-5, 1-2), going up 13-0 in the first quarter. The teams alternated scoring for the rest of the half, finishing 21-10. Neither team would score in the second half, which resulted in FAMU’s fifth loss in six games and Howard’s first win since the Nations’ Classic in Week Two.

Hampton (2-5, 2-1 MEAC) didn’t spoil Norfolk State’s (2-5, 2-2) homecoming, but it was about as close as you can get. The Pirates entered the game fresh off a big upset of NC A&T the previous week, looking to keep that momentum going against the rival Spartans. Freshman quarterback Brian Bailey continued to play well for Hampton, completing 19 of 27 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown as Hampton won 21-17, evening the Battle of the Bay rivalry at 25-25-1.

// While it wasn’t a homecoming or rivalry game, Delaware State’s 12-7 win over NC A&T may have been the result that turned the most heads around the conference. A&T started the season 3-0, including a win at Appalachian State, but came into Saturday hoping to rebound from a loss to previously-winless Hampton. The defense got back to playing like it did in the start of the season, but old problems reared their head in the form of a sluggish offense. A&T has now lost three straight games and are almost certainly out of the running for the conference title.

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