At the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s (SIAC) 2018 Preseason Football Honors event, the Morehouse College Maroon Tigers were predicted to finish fourth in the SIAC East.

Five games into the 2018 season, Morehouse has demonstrated that it’s one thing to predict, and quite another to go out on the field and get it done.

At press time, head coach Rich Freeman and his Maroon Tigers are 5-0, and are the only undefeated team in the SIAC.

Freeman believes that responsibility, both on and off the field, is one of the key elements behind Morehouse’s early success.

“I think we’ve done a really good job of protecting the football,” he said. “Also, we have a good group of talented, young men.”

“We always talk about obedience being better than sacrifice, and we have a really obedient group of young men. They do exactly what you ask them to do, on and off the field. Along with having some pretty talented young men, (those things) have led to the success that we’ve had.”

Morehouse’s offense, anchored by sophomore quarterback Michael Sims and sophomore running back Santo Dunn, is the driving force behind the Maroon Tigers’ 5-0 start. Sims leads the SIAC in passing yards per game (212.8) and total passing touchdowns (8). Similarly, Dunn leads the SIAC in rushing yards per game (90.8) and total rushing touchdowns (5). Morehouse’s offense, collectively, leads the SIAC in offensive yards per game at 375.2, and points per game, 32.2.

When asked about Sims’ contribution to the Maroons Tigers’ offense, Freeman applauds the young quarterback’s commitment to protecting the football.

“Sims played last year as a true freshman, and he had almost three times as many interceptions last year as he has now,” Freeman said. “I told him, ‘Good quarterbacks don’t turn the ball over.’

“This group is receptive to things that you tell them as a coach, and I think (Sims) internalized that. He wanted to prove me wrong as a coach.”

Saturday’s matchup, the 83rd annual Tuskegee/Morehouse Classic, will be a clash of polar opposites. While Morehouse’s offense drives the train for the Maroon Tigers, the defense is the specialty of the Tuskegee Golden Tigers. Tuskegee’s defense is number one in both yards per game and points per game.

Great offense versus a stellar defense. Something has got to give.

“Tuskegee has been a powerhouse; (they’re) a really good football team,” said Freeman. “In order for us to win, we’ve got to be able to establish the run, and keep our quarterback off of the ground, so he can make some good reads, hit some open receivers and not turn the ball over.”

Kickoff for the Tuskegee/Morehouse classic is at 2 p.m. tomorrow, at A. J. McClung Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ga.

Coach Rich Freeman (center) and his Maroon Tigers are terrorizing opponents’ defenses this season. (photo by Ruben R. Perez, Jr.)

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