Turner Leads Howard To Win in First Start
Washington, DC—October 22—Darrell Turner passed for one touchdown and ran for another to lead Howard University to a 16-0 win over North Carolina A&T (3-5 overall, 2-3 in the MEAC) in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Greene Stadium before an overflow homecoming crowd of 10.508.
A 6-5, 235-pound red-shirt freshman from Philadelphia, PA, Turner connected with Jarahn Williams from 37 yards out for one score and later scored on a one-year plunge to give the Bison (4-3 overall, 1-3 in the MEAC) their first shutout in 33 games, dating back to 2002 when they blanked Norfolk State, 21-0.
“We had no doubts about Darrell doing the job,” explained Howard Coach Ray Petty. “He knows the system, so we stuck with the game plan to have him manage the offense. Once he settled down, he made some big plays for us.” Turner was starting in place of senior quarterback Ronald Venters, the MEAC’s leading passer, who suffered an elbow injury in last week’s loss to Morgan State.
The teams played to a scoreless tie in the first quarter as neither offense was able to move the ball effectively. But Howard came alive in the second half when Turner completed his first pass of the game, which resulted in a TD to Williams at the 9:54 mark.
Turner was aided by the running of senior running back Keon Coleman, who rushed for a career-high 162 yards on 28 carries.
“We were able to make some plays off play action,” said an excited Turner following the game. “Because Keon was able to have the success running the ball, it took pressure off me and fortunately I was able to make some plays.”
Two possessions later, Turner put together a 6-play, 79-yard drive and capped it off by following the middle of the offensive line into the end zone. The big play on that drive was a 58-yard hookup between Turner senior wide receiver Thyron Lewis. Howard had the PAT blocked, but led 13-0 at the half.
From there, Bison defense, which came into the game ranked Number 6 in 1-AA in total defense, dominated play, limiting North Carolina A&T to minus 5 yards rushing and only 105 yards of total offense. It marked the third time this season that Howard has held an opponent to minus yards rushing and the fifth time in seven games that an opponent failed to reach 100 yards rushing.
North Carolina A&T quarterback Orrick Watkins was 11 of 21 passing for 102 yards, but he was intercepted twice and sacked three times before leaving with an injury.
Brandon Sweeney of the Aggies came into the game with 472 yards rushing, but was held to 15 yards on 12 carries.
“Our defense has played well all season, so it is no surprise,” said Petty. “Our defensive coordinator (Keith Gilmore) does a great job with our schemes in preparation for our opponents. Today was no different.”
It was a well coordinated effort as the defensive front of junior defensive end Jarrett Burgess (3 tackles, a sack), senior defensive tackle Jesse Hayes (3 tackles) and junior defensive tackle Edwin Piner (4 tackles) controlled the line of scrimmage while linebackers Danual Pearce and Timothy Lockett cleaned up and the secondary of Antoine Bethea (4 tackles, an interception), Jamar Butler (4 tackjles, an interception), Joe Claiborne (3 tackles and a fumble recovery) and Geoffrey Pope (3 tackles, an interception) made life miserable the Aggie offense.
NEXT UP: North Carolina A&T hosts Bethune-Cookman College next Saturday at 7 p.m. while the Bison travel to Norfolk, VA to take on the Spartans of Norfolk State for their homecoming at 1 p.m. in Dick Price Stadium.
GAME NOTES: Noam Dror had an effective day, knocking two of his four punts inside the 20-yard line and converting on the first field goal of his career, a 36-yard effort…the Bison have been getting outstanding special teams play from Lawrence Hellams, Arando Jamison and William Blanden the past two weeks….Jarahn Williams now has five TDs on the year to lead the team…Coleman’s 162 yards eclipsed his old career best of 157 set against Texas Southern in 2003…the win snapped a two-game losing streak to North Carolina A&T…there were several celebrities in attendance including actor/rap artist Method Man, actor Larenz Tate, model Tyson Beckford, R&B artist Maya, former Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams and rap artist Jada Kiss.