Mistakes Cost Howard In Road Loss
Ypsilanti, MI-September 22, 2007-Howard University rolled up a season-high 434 yards of total offense but the Bison could not overcome four turnovers and some costly penalties as they dropped a 38-15 decision to Eastern Michigan University in a non-conference game at Rynearson Stadium before 10,141.
The problems started for Howard (0-3) on the opening kickoff when Bison players appeared to relax and allowed the Eagles to recover the live ball deep in their territory. The Eagles (2-2) graciously accepted the gift as Pierre Walker scored from seven yards with only 15 seconds off the clock.
"On the opening kickoff, they gave us a blooper and the returner did not attack the ball," explained Howard head coach Carey Bailey. "We made some bad decisions and that led to some early turnovers and mistakes. It's difficult enough to win when you only give up one."
The Bison showed no signs of panic after the quick score and smartly moved the ball, but each time they got something going, a turnover or an untimely penalty would prove to be costly.
Still, the defense, which was maligned in last week's loss to Florida A&M, played strong and repeatedly stopped the Eagles.
"We went back to fundamentals and we improved on our tackling," said senior safety Randell Means, who played his prep ball in Detroit. "Everybody flew to the ball."
But the offense could not capitalize on the improved defensive effort. Eastern Michigan eventually got on the board for a second score when Sebry Mahmud Nuru managed only a 15-yard punt that set up a 22-yard field goal by Zach Johnson.
The Bison gave Eastern Michigan another scoring opportunity when they attempted a run by Martin Corniffe on fourth down from punt formation. The play had worked for 29 yards earlier in the game, but this time the Eagles stopped him for no gain and gave them great field position.
Eastern Michigan wasted no time as Schmitt threw a 24-yard strike Dwayne Priest just before the half ended to take a 17-0 lead.
The Eagles padded their lead at the beginning of the third quarter as Schmitt took his team 55 yards in only six plays, the scoring play coming on a Schmitt toss to Ken Bohnet from 4 yards out.
The teams traded possessions on the next two series and after the Bison defense held the Eagles on downs, Larry Duncan fumbled the punt and Schmitt quickly made Howard pay as he threw his third TD of the day, this time from 35 yards to Tyrone Burke.
On the Bison's next possession, they finally got on the board when Brian Johnson tossed an 11-yard TD pass to Jarahn Williams just before the end of the third quarter.
Eastern Michigan began to play conservatively on offense and Howard was able to manufacture some points again when Johnson engineered a 12-play, 82-yard drive that was culminated on a 27-yard strike to Michael Harper. The two-point conversion closed the deficit to 31-15 with a little over six minutes still remaining.
Howard had some life and the Eagles, who have not fared well at home of late, appeared a bit anxious. But two penalties by the Bison on Eastern Michigan's next possession snuffed out any attempt at a comeback.
"We improved on our blocking and the receivers played better," said Johnson, who accounted for 303 yards of total offense. "We just made too many mistakes today."
GAME NOTES: The Bison rolled up 257 yards rushing and 177 yards passing...after a 2 for 12 third down conversion performance last week, Howard made good on 10 of 18 while holding the Eagles to 2 of 12...the Bison came into the game with two turnovers in the first two games, but they gave it up four times against Eastern Michigan while also committing 9 penalties for 77 yards, many of which either stopped Howard drives or extended the Eagles...Howard played without freshman punter Patrick Wolff, who did not make the trip and senior center Travis Harmon, who had back spasms...Leonard Moore, who was moved to running back from wide receiver, picked up 46 yards on seven carries while little-used Terry Perry contributed 43 yards on nine carries...Endor Cooper had another fine outing with 9 tackles as did Robert Dowdy (7 tackles), Means (7 tackles, one for a loss) and sophomore safety Maurice Cheeks (career-high 8 tackles).
NEXT UP: Howard hosts Winston-Salem State next Saturday at 1 pm in Greene Stadium.