Last week it was the Morehouse offense showing off its guns, this week it was the defense's chance to roar. The Maroon Tigers recorded five sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles and won their first conference game, 20-10, over the winless Paine College Lions.
The big play was a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown by defensive end Joshua Burton that put the game away in the fourth quarter.
After Morehouse won the opening toss and deferred, Paine got the ball on its own 25 yard line and drove 75 yards for the game's first score. Quarterback Loranzo Hammond sneaked it in from the 1-yard line, to cap a 16-play drive that consumed 8:12.
Morehouse bounced back three minutes later, when fullback Nikolys Baker ran it in from the 12-yard line. Baker, a junior transfer from Arizona Western University, dragged several defenders into the end zone for his first Morehouse touchdown.
The score was set up by an interception by linebacker Jamil Irvin-Muhammad at the Paine 12 yard line.
Alexis Gonzales hit a 29-yarder, the first of his two field goals, with nine seconds remaining in the first, to give Morehouse a 10-7 lead. His second field goal split the uprights from 21 yards and gave Morehouse a 13-10 lead early in the fourth quarter.
In what became mostly a defensive battle, the only score in the second and third quarters was a 21-yard field goal by Paine's Wisdom Nzidee.
Morehouse defensive coordinator George Copeland continually dialed up the pressure against a Paine offense, which had averaged 25 points per game in its three losses.
That strategy apparently worked, as Morehouse more than doubled its season turnover production and keep the Paine quarterback on the run.
Free safety Demario Dixon spearheaded the Maroon Tiger defensive attack with a Morehouse season-high 14 tackles and an interception.
Clarence Christian had one of the Morehouse sacks and he and Lance White each collected eight tackles. Richard Sanders, Brian Thomas andJoshua Thurston recorded seven tackles apiece, with Thomas adding a sack, two tackles-for-loss, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
Quarterback Monqavious Johnson completed 14 of 27 passes for 147 yards. He was intercepted once and sacked twice.
Running backs Shelton Hamilton (13 carries, 57 yards) and Malik Johnson(6 carries, 26 yards) had the tiger's share of Morehouse's 113 rushing yards.
Devon Mann led the receiving corps with five catches for 78 yards.Brandon Sartin had two catches for 24 yards and Lake McGuffie had two catches for 16 yards.
Morehouse will travel across campus next Saturday, to face Clark Atlanta, at Panther Stadium, at 2 p.m. The 1-3 Panthers lost at home, 42-2, to the University of West Georgia, today.
~Courtesy of Morehouse Sports Information
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