West Virginia State falls short against Morehead State, 37-35

Courtesy of James Garcia, Sports Information Director, West Virginia State Athletics

West Virginia State Logo



Morehead State Logo


Winner MOR


he West Virginia State University football team (0-1) was defeated by Morehead State (1-0) by a final score of 37-35 in the season opener for both squads. The Yellow Jackets nearly caught up with the Eagles in the fourth quarter, but came up just short in the Thursday night road game.

Junior running back Joel Felder was the game’s leading rusher with 15 carries for 117 yards and a score. He also caught four passes for 46 yards and another score. Meanwhile, senior wide receiver Javion Monroe had a breakout performance with seven receptions for a career-high 133 yards and a touchdown. He was graduate quarterback Donovan Riddick’s favorite target on the way to completing 25-of-32 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns without throwing a pick.

On the opening drive, Nicholas Fanninintercepted a pass on third and long to set the Yellow Jackets up for their first offensive drive. WVSU made it to midfield on the drive but was forced to punt after a rushing play called on third and three was stuffed in the backfield.

Morehead State opened the scoring on the ensuing possession. Quarterback Carter Carvens found a wide-open Chance Harris in the flats who turned the ball upfield for a 38-yard score, 7-0.

West Virginia State erased the deficit shortly thereafter. Following a kickoff return by Devin Washington to the 29 yard line, running back Joel Felder found a crease up the middle and scampered 71 yards into the end zone, 7-7.

The Eagles responded with a 49-yard drive that resulted in a 24-yard field goal, 10-7. The WVSU defense faced a first-and-goal situation from the eight yard line and came up with three-straight stops to bring the field goal unit out. Jy Martin broke up the pass on third down to keep MSU out of the end zone.

MSU was first to score again in the second quarter. A 13-play, 73-yard drive was capped with a 14-yard touchdown pass on a crossing route, 17-7.

After a stalled drive, Brennen Schmitt’s punt was blocked and recovered by the Eagles at West Virginia State’s 10 yard line. Two plays later, Cravens found his target in the back of the end zone for a nine-yard TD pass, 24-7.

The Yellow Jackets picked up some momentum on the following drive with a big play on third and eight from their own 23 yard line. Quarterback Donovan Riddickconnected with wideout Javion Monroe for a 27-yard gain that placed WVSU at midfield. Positive yardage was picked up by WVSU with every subsequent play until Riddick hit Felder in stride on a streak route for a 24-yard touchdown strike, 24-14.

Jy Martin came down with an interception at West Virginia State’s own seven yard line on the Eagles’ last possession of the first half. Riddick was composed in leading the Yellow Jackets 67 yards down the field in the approximately one minute remaining. His 15-yard rush to Morehead’s 26 yard line ran the clock out for the first half.

The Yellow Jackets had no problem moving the football after receiving the second-half kickoff. They only needed eight plays to cross the goal line. The biggest play of the 66-yard drive was a 24-yard dart from Riddick to Monroe. Running back Joe Jonesended the drive with a nine-yard TD reception, 24-21.

Morehead converted on fourth down near midfield to extend its first drive of the second half. The gutsiness paid off for the Eagles later in the drive when they scored on third and goal with a six-yard rush, 31-21.

WVSU turned the ball over with a failed fourth down conversion on the ensuing drive. The turnover was inconsequential with Christian Thompson forcing a fumble on the next play and  Nick Blake scooping it up for a 46-yard dash to paydirt, 31-28.

The first score of the fourth quarter came around the nine-minute mark. A 35-yard pass completion on first down by the Eagles moved them into WVSU territory. Morehead’s Caleb Ramseur ended up breaking the plane on the drive with a 10-yard rush. The point after try was missed to leave West Virginia State with a nine-point deficit, 37-28.

The Yellow Jackets responded on the next drive by marching 75 yards all the way down the field with a total of eight plays. After crossing midfield with a series of moderate chunk plays, Riddick tossed an absolute dime to Monroe for a 37-yard pass completion that resulted in a touchdown, 37-35, with 6:17 to go in the contest.

Morehead was able to run out the clock with an 11-play, 46-yard drive that ended with three kneels inside the redzone.

The WVSU offense totaled 457 yards compared to 424 yards of total offense by MSU. Meanwhile, the WVSU defense forced three turnovers that resulted in a total of 14 points.

West Virginia State will host UNC Pembroke next on Thursday, Sept. 7th at 6 p.m.

Next Game:
UNC Pembroke
9/7/2023 | 6:00 PM

Team Statistics

Total Yards457424
Pass Yards288236
Rushing Yards169188
Penalty Yards5-355-30
1st Downs2124
3rd Downs7-1212-17
4th Downs0-11-1
MOR07:00 – MOR – C. Harris 38 yd pass from C. Cravens (N. Hazlett kick) 8 plays, 67 yards, TOP 3:1507
WVSU06:40 – WVSU – Felder, Joel 71 yd run (Schmitt, Brenne kick), 1 plays, 71 yards, TOP 0:1377
MOR02:13 – MOR – N. Hazlett 24 yd field goal 10 plays, 49 yards, TOP 4:19710
MOR11:02 – MOR – R. Upp 14 yd pass from C. Cravens (N. Hazlett kick) 13 plays, 73 yards, TOP 5:00717
MOR07:02 – MOR – N. Boehm 9 yd pass from C. Cravens (N. Hazlett kick) 2 plays, 10 yards, TOP 0:47724
WVSU02:53 – WVSU – Felder, Joel 24 yd pass from Riddick, Donova (Schmitt, Brenne kick) 9 plays, 79 yards, TOP 4:011424
WVSU11:43 – WVSU – Jones, Joe 9 yd pass from Riddick, Donova (Schmitt, Brenne kick) 8 plays, 66 yards, TOP 3:112124
MOR05:45 – MOR – J. Louis 6 yd run (N. Hazlett kick), 12 plays, 60 yards, TOP 5:532131
WVSU02:57 – WVSU – Blake, Nick 46 yd fumble recovery (Schmitt, Brenne kick)2831
MOR09:11 – MOR – C. Ramseur 10 yd run (N. Hazlett kick failed), 9 plays, 78 yards, TOP 3:382837
WVSU06:17 – WVSU – Monroe, Javion 37 yd pass from Riddick, Donova (Schmitt, Brenne kick) 8 plays, 75 yards, TOP 2:543537

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