SAVANNAH, Ga. -- After a sluggish first half, Morgan State exploded in the third quarter and coasted to a 45-6 win over Savannah State on Saturday night at T.A. Wright Stadium.
The Bears led 14-6 at the half, but they used a 38-yard kickoff return by Tyrone Hendrix to jump-start a 24-point outburst in the third quarter.
Behind Travis Davidson's three touchdowns in the period, Morgan State exceed its first-half rushing numbers, netting 103 yards on the ground in the third.
Davidson, the leading rusher in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, scored on runs of 1, 80, and 7 yards. He finished with 125 yards on 13 carries after getting only 10 yards on three attempts in the first half.
Morgan State (3-2, 2-0) is one of teams unbeaten in conference play, reaching 2-0 in the MEAC for the first time since 2009. Savannah State (0-5, 0-3) lost its 12th consecutive game.
Davidson, who did not play in the fourth quarter, has 514 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.
Morgan State spotted the Tigers, who are last in the MEAC in nearly every offensive and defensive category, an early 6-0 lead, but special teams kept the Bears in the hunt while they solved their offensive problems.
Savannah State was the laughingstock of college football after being outscored 139-0 in season-opening losses at Oklahoma State and Florida State.
No one was laughing, especially on the Morgan State side of the field, with 8 minutes, 20 seconds left in the first quarter Saturday when Tigers quarterback Antonio Bostick sneaked into the end zone from 1 yard out.
Bostick's score -- he appeared to have been downed at the one on a solid hit by Bears freshman linebacker Elandon Roberts -- capped an 11-play, 74-yard drive.
Morgan State blocked the extra point, keeping their deficit at 6-0.
The Bears snapped out of their slumber on the ensuing kickoff.
Chris Flowers hauled in the ball, started up the middle and found a crease. Flowers bounced to bounced to the right sideline, and no one put a hand on him on the 88-yard return.
Earvin Gonzalez kicked the extra point, and in a 14-second span, Morgan State had the lead.
With its defense holding the Tigers at bay, Morgan State pushed its lead to 14-6 before the half thanks to a 10-yard punt that gave the Bears the ball at the Savannah State 21-yard line.
It took the Bears offense six plays to produce another touchdown. Brian Mann scored on a four-yard run following a 20-yard scramble for a first down on third-and-15 at the 26 by quarterback Robert Council.
The score came with 1:50 left in the half.
Morgan State was held to 140 yards in the first half by a Tigers defense that was giving up averages of 547.8 yards and 60 points per game. Savannah State had 171 yards in the first half, only 50 under its average.
Hendrix's second-half kickoff return put the ball on the Tigers' 29, and it took six plays to score on Davidson's 1-yard TD. That increased Morgan State's edge to 21-6.
After a Savannah State punt, Davidson hit up the middle, bounced outside and was off the races for his 80-yard score.
Three minutes later, Gonzalez kicked a 21-yard field goal, and on its next possession, Morgan State had to go only 28 yards, Davidson getting the final 7.
Tracy Martin's 1-yard run with 9:30 left in the game was the only score of the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Bears junior cornerback Joe Rankin intercepted a pass in the end zone on Savannah State's first offensive series. It was Rankin's MEAC-leading fourth pick of the year and the ninth of his career. ... Savannah State entered the game on an 11-game losing streak, the longest among Football Championship Subdivision teams. ... Former Baltimore Ravens tight end and NFL Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe was a Division II All America at Savannah State. The Tigers were 7-4 his junior year, and 8-1 his senior year (1989), which are the two best back-to-back seasons in SSU history. ... Coach Donald Hill-Eley is in his 11th season at Morgan State, while Steve Davenport is the sixth Savannah State coach in the same span.