SC State Uses Strong Second Half To Get Past Bison
Turnovers Doom Howard in Road Loss To SC State
Orangeburg, SC-November 4-South Carolina State parlayed the playmaking of Cleveland McCoy, the running of DeShawn Baker and an opportunistic defense into a 28-10 win over Howard University in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference contest at Oliver C. Dawson Bulldog Stadium before 18, 155.
McCoy and Baker proved to be a thorn in the Bison's side for the second straight year as they combined for 230 of the Bulldogs' 307 yards of total offense.
McCoy completed 12 of 21 for 115 yards and one TD and added another 48 yards rushing and a TD passing. Baker had the best rushing day of the season against Howard, amassing 170 yards on 14 carries and a TD.
The Bison (3-6 overall, 2-4 in the MEAC) came out strong against SC State (5-4, 4-2 in the MEAC), stopping the Bulldogs offense on their first three possessions and eventually putting together a well executed 12-play, 79-yard drive. But it all came to naught when Bison running back Antoine Rutherford was stripped of the ball by SC State linebacker Patrick Reed. Dana Graydon recovered the ball at the Bulldogs' one-yard line.
Despite the missed opportunity, the Howard defense stopped the vaunted Bulldogs' running game, once on four downs deep in Howard territory, and another on a missed field goal.
The Bulldogs' offense finally took advantage of some good field position after a good punt return. It took them four plays to go 24 yards and SC State was in the end zone, courtesy of a 16-yard Oliver Young run on a reverse that caught the Bison defense off guard.
The Bison answered on their ensuing possession as they marched 53 yards in 10 plays. Sophomore running back Karlos Whittaker took it the final 13 yards to tie the score at 7-all at intermission.
Howard appeared to be in good shape at the start of the third quarter until the first of many miscues. Punter Dennis Wiehberg mishandled a snap and was tackled at his own 27-yard line, setting up a 5-yard TD run by McCoy.
The Bison would respond by driving deep into SC State territory. But back-to-back-to-back loss of yards forced a 33-yard field goal by Wiehberg, cutting the deficit to 14-10 late in the third.
Inspired by the defensive stop, the Bulldogs took control of the game, going 56 yards on their next possession with Baker scoring untouched from 8 yards out to up the margin to 21-10.
Howard would go on to turn the ball over four times in the second half and SC State delivered the knockout blow with a 91-yard drive that was culminated in a 5-yard TD pass from McCoy to Rolanda Breland.
The Bison offense which was held to 60 total yards in the second half, was led by Rutherford with 64 yards on 14 carries and Johnson, who accounted 165 total yards.
The defense again played well. Cornerback Thomas Claiborn (9 tackles), middle linebacker Timothy Lockett (8 tackles), safety Randell Means (8 tackles) and defensive end Rudy Hardie (6 tackles, 4 tackles for losses, 2 sacks) all had fine outings in defeat.
GAME NOTES: Baker became only the third back in 20 games to reach the 100-yard mark against the Bison defense...the Howard secondary gave up its first TD pass in 14 quarters of play...the 6 turnovers is a season high...Baker had runs of 50 and 59 yards, but failed to score each time as speedy Geoffrey Pope (4.29 in the 40) ran him down.
NEXT UP: Howard travels to Daytona Beach, FL to take on the Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman College next Saturday at 4 pm while the Bulldogs travel to Baltimore, MD to take on the Bears of Morgan State next Saturday at 1:30 pm.