Washington, DC-Brian Johnson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and Terry Perry added two more on the ground to lead Howard University to a 41-14 win over Cheyney University in a non-conference game at Greene Stadium.
Johnson, a 6-0, 190-pound senior threw TD passes of 21 yards to Jarahan Williams and 56 yards to Larry Duncan while also scoring on a 28-yard run. Johnson completed 12 of 19 for 184 yards and picked up 68 yards on 6 carries as the Bison rolled up 439 yards of total offense.
Perry, a 5-9, junior from Miami, FL was the workhorse for the Howard ground attack for the second straight week, rushing for 77 yards on 18 carries while scoring on short runs of 2, and 1 yards, his first career TDs.
"The offensive line is getting better and better each week," said Perry, who was starting his second game after moving up from third on the depth chart. "The relationship between them and the backs has gotten a lot better. For us, it all starts up front with those guys."
The score was not indicative of the game, at least not early on. Howard (2-3) scored on the game's opening possession when Johnson led his team on a seven-play, 66-yard drive that was culminated by his 28-yard run.
The Wolves (1-5) failed to do anything on offense early and the Bison took advantage when Johnson connected with Williams from 21 yards out to up the margin to 14-0 with 2:03 left in the first quarter which lasted an unusually long 54 minutes. It was Williams' seventh TD catch of the year, a career high.
But Howard appeared to let up, and following a failed attempt on fourth down in Wolves' territory, Cheyney got back into the game when senior quarterback Derrick Murry found Billy Mitchell from 20 yards out to cut the margin to 14-7 at the 9:43 mark of the second quarter.
"When you play a higher division team on paper, people expect you to lose," said Cheyney Coach Tim Newsom of the Division II Cheyney. "I thought we had a chance to win."
The Bison responded a little over two minutes later by taking advantage of a short field. It took Howard 4 plays to go 17 yards as Perry scored from two yards out. At that point, the Bison appeared to have the game all but wrapped up. The Howard defense stopped the Wolves deep in their own territory and converted the miss opportunity into a score.
"I felt we shot ourselves in the foot," added Newsom. "If we score on that goal line opportunity, we go into the half down 21-14 instead of 27-7. It was a big momentum killer."
Howard took over on downs and Johnson capped of the team's longest drive of the season (95 yards on 6 plays) with a 55-yard TD pass to a wide-open Duncan.
"Week in and week out, our quarterback expects us to go out and make plays," said Duncan, who had his best game of the season with 4 catches for 91 yards. "I asked him (Johnson) if he can get me in the end zone. He did a good job of keeping his poise on that play."
Despite the "momentum killer" that Newson alluded to, Cheyney refused to quit. The Wolves put together their best drive of the game as they went 64 yards on 10 plays and used up almost 6 minutes before Murry found Eric Frazier (6 receptions, 59 yards, 1 TD), who made a spectacular catch to cut the deficit to 27-14 with time still left in the third quarter.
"We played a very sloppy game," lamented Howard head coach Carey Bailey. "Sometimes when you play an opponent who on paper is weaker, you have a tendency to play down and if you're not mature enough to understand, it will show in your play. We did not have a healthy respect for Cheyney. At halftime I got into the team a little. We came out more focused in the second half."
Perry capped off a 67-yard drive at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a one-yard plunge to leave the door open for the reserves who closed out the scoring on a 37-yard TD pass from red-shirt sophomore quarterback Floyd Haigler to sophomore Brandon Sherman.
The Howard defense limited Cheyney to 76 yards rushing. Murry, who played his prep ball locally at Riverdale Baptist, came into the game averaging 300 yards passing, but was held to 138 yards on 14 of 37, was sacked twice and picked off once by Thomas Claiborn.