McCoy, Defense Lead SC State To Win Over Howard
Washington, DC—Nov. 5—Cleveland McCoy threw for one touchdown and passed for another and the defense made key stops to lead South Carolina State to a hard-fought, 23-9 win over Howard University in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Greene Stadium before 8,056. The game, shown live on ESPNU, marked the first time that there has been a night game at Howard.
The win keeps the 20th ranked Bulldogs’ (7-2 overall, 5-1 in the MEAC) hopes alive for a 1-AA, at-large berth after undefeated Hampton (9-0, 6-0 in the MEAC) all but sealed the regular season conference title with a 24-10 over Bethune-Cookman.
Howard (4-5 overall, 1-5 in the MEAC) gave the Bulldogs all they could handle and got on the board first on a 30-yard field goal by Noam Dror at the 7:12 mark of the first quarter. The field goal came after an inspired defensive stand against SC State on a fourth and inches deep in Howard territory.
SC State responded on its next possession, however, by going 70 yards in only 6 plays, the key a 50-yard run and catch by Rondriekas Darby (4 receptions, 99 yards) that gave the visitors a 7-3 lead that they took to the locker room.
The Bulldogs opened the second half with nice drive, but the Howard defense thwarted it and forced a 29-yard field goal by Stephen Grantham.
From there, the defenses of both teams dominated action until the Bison put together a resourceful, 6-play, 62-yard drive that was capped off by a seven-yard TD run by quarterback Ronald Venters to narrow the margin to 10-9 with almost 12 minutes still remaining.
“We have a tendency of keeping people in games, but Howard had a lot to do with that the way they played today,” said SC State Coach Buddy Pough.
But SC State responded again, this time with a 5-play, 54-yard drive that was finished off on an 11-yard scamper by McCoy to increase the lead to 17-9 with 9:58 remaining.
Then came the turning point of the game. Howard’s Jamar Butler sacked McCoy and the ball came loose. Jesse Hayes picked it up and returned it to the SC State 33-yard.
But the Bison bobbled the snap on their first play from scrimmage and the Bulldogs ran time off the clock and later sealed the win with 61-yard interception return by Terrence Bennett for a TD to close out the scoring.
“That was definitely a turning point,” said Howard Coach Ray Petty. “At that point, if we score, we’re back in the game and have momentum.”
Added Pough, “Howard sort of caught us with our pants down on that play. But when we got it back on the next play, it was a breath of fresh air.”
Running back DeShawn Baker paced the SC State attack with 92 tough yards on 23 carries while McCoy managed the game well, completing 11 of 14 passes for 156 yards and no interceptions.
Howard was led by Keon Coleman, who rushed for 129 yards on 14 carries, marking the third straight game he has gone over 100 yards.
The Bulldogs defense held Howard 11 of 22 passing for only 53 yards.
The highlight of the game turned out to be a duel between the two punters. Coby Brandyburg of SC State averaged almost 47 yards on six punts while Noam Dror of Howard had a career day averaging almost 49 yards on five punts.
GAME NOTES: The Bison run defense has allowed only one runner to get 100 yards this season, Rashad Pompey of Florida A&M…the Bulldogs were limited to almost 90 yards less than their season average of total offense per game (373.0)…the 53 yards passing was a season low for the Bison…Antoine Bethea had another brilliant effort in defeat with 10 tackles…Edwin Piner (10 tackles), Jamar Butler (7 tackles, a forced fumble and 2.5 tackles for losses) and Timothy Lockett (7 tackles, 2 for losses and a sack) all contributed to the effort…the interception return for a TD by SC State marked the second straight week that the Bison have had one returned for a score and the third this season.
NEXT UP: SC State hosts Morgan State University on ESPNU on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. while the Bison close out the home season with a 1 p.m. clash with Bethune-Cookman College next Saturday. It will be Senior Day for 17 members of the team who will be playing their last home game in a Bison uniform.