Bison Make Good On Vow in Win Over Delaware State
Washington, DC-November 18--Following the 28-0 win over Bethune-Cookman game last week in Daytona Beach, FL, several of the Howard University senior players vowed that they would do all they could to ensure that Delaware State would not get a share of the MEAC title and a possible NCAA 1-AA at-large bid at their expense in the upcoming showdown. The players pointed to the regular season finale in 2004 when the Hornets defeated the Bison, 23-16 in what they felt was the catalyst for turning around the Hornets' program.
Well, Howard made good on its vow as Brian Johnson threw for two touchdowns, including the game winner in 20-17 upset win over 23rd ranked Delaware State University in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference regular season finale at Greene Stadium.
"It was a great feeling; we finally won on Senior Day," said Howard senior middle linebacker Timothy Lockett. "We were highly motivated for this game. As seniors, we wanted to go out with something to build on for next year. There are a lot of players returning next year, so it was important that we beat a quality football team like Delaware State."
The Hornets (8-3 overall, 6-2 in the MEAC), who came into the game riding a six-game win streak and looking to grab a share of the regular season title with Hampton and a possible playoff bid, got off to a good start when quarterback Kurt Elden took advantage of good field position and got his team on the scoreboard first when he connected with junior wide receiver Shaheer McBride (5 receptions, 71 yards, 1 TD) from 36 yards out.
Howard (5-6, 4-4 in the MEAC) countered with what has been its "MO" the past five games-four of which it won-by embarking on a 14-play, 90-yard drive that took more than six minutes off the clock. Sophomore running back Karlos Whittaker culminated the drive with a two-yard run.
The drive was run brilliantly by Johnson, who has engineered several similar drives since taking over as starter five games ago.
"He made great decisions today and controlled the offense," said Howard head coach Ray Petty. "He has really taken charge of this offense."
But before the Bison could relax, the Hornets came back with a drive of their own. It took 13 plays to go 68 yards, before the Howard defense stood tall and forced a field goal for a 10-7 halftime lead for the Hornets.
DSU threatened to pull away at the start the second half. Following a Bison turnover, the Hornets went 80 yards in a little under two minutes as senior running back Emmanuel Marc scored on a beautiful 29-yard as he eluded two would-be Howard tacklers and hurdled a third before scoring standing up, giving his team a 17-7 lead at the 9:58 mark.
Then Howard took control and set out to make good on its mission. Johnson put together another fine drive. This one was 64 yards and it took only 6 plays as he hooked up with junior wide receiver Arlandus Hood (4 receptions, 56 yards) from 25 yards out to get his team to within three at 17-14.
The two teams exchanged turnovers until the Bison, under the leadership of Johnson went 86 yards on 8 plays. The TD play was a well-timed, 18-yard strike to junior wide receiver Larry Duncan that gave the Bison the lead for good.
"We wanted to test them with the run," explained Johnson, who rushed for 120 yards and passed for 127 and two TDs. "When they stepped up to stop us, we went to the pass. We were able to have the success we did because the line did an outstanding job of blocking up front." Johnson was not sacked all day.
There was still plenty of time for the Hornets to get either a go-ahead TD or a game-tying field goal. Despite several injuries to key players during the game, the Bison were not to be denied.
"The guys stepped up and it had nothing to do with coaching," said Coach Petty. "It was all on the players. When one guy went down, everybody else stepped up."
GAME NOTES: The Bison played most of the game without junior defensive end Rudy Hardie, junior safety Randell Means, senior guard Tommy Burns and junior center Travis Harmon...Lockett had an outstanding game with 9 tackles...Endor Cooper, who was MEAC Player of the Week, added 9 tackles and another sack while junior linebackers Danual Pearce and Robert Dowdy each had 7...Hood's TD receptions was the first of his career while Duncan's TD catch was his first this season...Marc led all rushers with 165 yards on 21 carries, but he had only one carry in the fourth quarter...Howard was again very efficient, converting on 8 of 13 on third downs...freshman Dennis Wiehberg had his best day as a punter, averaging 43 yards on three punts including a career-best 58 yarder.