ORANGEBURG | It was a "Long" afternoon for Morgan State at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium on Saturday.
Malcolm Long, that is.
The S.C. State quarterback became the first 2,000-yard passer in the school's history and receiver Tre' Young set a school record for career receptions as the Bulldogs rolled past the Bears 37-13 to clinch their second consecutive MEAC championship.
Coach Buddy Pough said his team is much more focused on its playoff destiny.
"We're excited about winning the conference," said Pough, whose Bulldogs (9-1, 7-0 MEAC) won their 18th consecutive conference game - another record set Saturday.
Pough was somewhat dismissive about individual records in light of the conference championship and a berth in the FCS playoffs.
"We're more about team wins and trying to make something happen in the playoffs than we are about individual records," he said.
Long completed 21 of 32 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns. His efforts through the air offset a rushing attack that stalled in the first half and finished with 132 yards.
"He (Long) gets hot like that, he gets on a string," Pough said. "They were forcing the deep ball a little bit. They added a lot of guys to their run defense and were forced to throw a lot of deep balls. You've got to make it happen in the situation where they weren't giving you much (room to) run."
Young gave S.C. State a second offensive punch. In addition to having 122 career receptions after Saturday, he finished with 313 all-purpose yards. He had six catches for 166 yards and two touchdowns, four punt returns for 108 yards - including a 70-yarder - and a 39-yard kickoff return.
"He's a lot of fun to watch," Pough said. "Kickoff returns and punts gives him another dimension where he can go out and show his ability."
S.C. State got started in the first quarter with Long tossing a 19-yard touchdown pass to Will Ford, then hitting a wide-open Young on a post pattern for a 45-yard touchdown strike.
Morgan State's Carlton Jackson ran for a 7-yard score to cut the Bulldogs' lead to 14-7 at the 1:20 mark of the first quarter.
Over the next three quarters, Long lofted TD passes to Terrance Smith and Young again, while Bulldogs kicker Blake Erickson made good on field goals from 29, 24, and 29 yards.
"We were going against the top team in the conference," Bears head coach Donald Hill-Eley said. "We can't turn over the ball the way we did. We can't give up the big plays the way we did. They're the No. 1 team in the conference and they played like it."
"The conference championship for us is a great thing, but it's the means to an end, to get to what we really want to do get to," Pough said. "That's to get to the playoffs and make something happen in the playoffs."