ORANGEBURG, SC—Redshirt senior All-American linebacker Darius Leonard put on stellar performance in front of a nationally televised audience on ESPNU, recording a season-high 18 tackles (14 solo) along with two interceptions for 51-yards including a pick-6 to lead South Carolina State to a 35-14 victory over Morgan State Friday (Oct. 6th) at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium/Willie Jeffries Field.
South Carolina State improves to 2-3 overall, 1-2 in the MEAC, while Morgan State remains winless at 0-4 overall, 0-2 in the league.
South Carolina State got on the board early on with a 44-yard scamper by senior running back Trey Samuel at the 10:41 mark in the first quarter.
Morgan State even the score 7-7 on a 1-yard punch by senior running back Eric Harrell with 2:01 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Luke Uransel scored the only points in the second quarter kicking a 22-yard field goal to give the Bears a 10-7 lead heading into intermission.
Morgan State opened the second-half with tough defensive stands forcing back-to-back safeties in the third quarter to move ahead a score 14-7 at the 9:01 mark.
The Bulldogs offense came to life late in the third on a 28-yard touchdown toss from redshirt sophomore quarterback Dewann Ford to redshirt sophomore Quan Caldwell with 4:41 remaining.
Samuel carried the load in the fourth quarter leading the Bulldog charge with a 15-yard and an 89-yard touchdown runs late in the contest. Leonard sealed the deal on his second interception of 12-yards for a touchdown to life SC State to a 35-14 victory and first conference win of the season.
Samuel finished with 19 carries for 169-yards and three touchdowns, while Ford threw for 9-of-22 for 123-yards and a score. Sophomore Demontrez Burrough spearheaded the receiving corps with four catches for 66-yards, while Caldwell added four for 51-yards.
Leonard had help on the defense with redshirt senior linebacker Dayshawn Taylor finishing with eight tackles, one tackle for loss, one forced fumble and one interception. Senior defensive back Devondre Powell added five tackles, one forced fumble in the win.
South Carolina State return to action on Saturday (Oct. 14) on the road versus Bethune-Cookman in a pivotal Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in Daytona Beach, Fla. Kickoff is 4 p.m.