WASHINGTON, D.C. - Howard and Hampton traded punches early in the game, each using time-consuming drives, but in the end, the Pirates were able to pull away by reeling off 24 unanswered points to defeat the Bison, 31-21 in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Greene Stadium before an overflow crowd of 7,086.
Howard (0-2, 0-1 in the MEAC) came out smartly, driving 64 yards in nine plays, using almost five minutes off the clock to take the early 7-0 lead. Junior Casey Council, who started at quarterback, capped off the drive with a 15-yard run.
Hampton (1-1, 1-0 in the MEAC) countered with a long drive of its own, a 17-play, 80-yard marathon that used 8:32 on the clock. Senior running back Steve Robinson, who led all rushers with 86 yards, did most of the damage and rewarded his efforts with a one-yard plunge.
The Bison embarked on a another mini drive, this time a 13-play, 64-yard trek that ate up almost seven minutes off the clock. Junior tailback Terrence Leffall went the final two yards to give Howard a 14-7 lead.
The Bison looked to be in good shape if they could keep the Pirates out of the end zone with just 2:46 left on the clock. But Hampton made quick work of their possession and took just 1:13 to travel 60 yards in five plays to tie the score at 14-all. The big play came on a 28-yard hookup between David Legree (13 of 25 pass, 133 yards, 2 TDs; seven carries, 62 yards) and Dyrin McCalin.
"A breakdown occurred on the bubble fake," explained Howard Coach Carey Bailey. "The cornerback was supposed to stay back but he came up. That (play) turned the tide."
Buoyed by the score, the Pirates took control of the game. Using a combination of running plays and a short passing game, Hampton went 75 yards in eight plays to take its first lead of the game at 21-14. Javaris Brown closed out the drive with a four-yard jaunt.
"Had we been up, they would have changed what they wanted to do," said Coach Bailey. "When they got that score, they felt that they could go tit for tat."
The Pirates' defense forced the Bison to turn the ball over on downs and the offense responded when Legree threw his second TD pass of the game, this time to Donte Davis (5 receptions, 75 yards) from eight yards out. Rodrigo Hernandez tacked on a 36-yard field goal to up the margin to 31-14 with 7:19 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Council had the best day of his career, leading the Bison with 83 yards on 21 carries. Leffall contributed a career-best 59 on 11 carries. Bradden passed for a career-high 135 yards passing and Carter continued his success, catching three passes for 91 yards.
GAME NOTES: Freshman punter Bryan Jackson had a fine effort, averaging over 41 yards per punt that included a career-best 51 yarder…Council's 83 yards rushing was a career best…Carter's 78 yard reception that set up the final score was a career best…the Bison won the time of possession battle, 34 minutes to 25.
NEXT UP: Hampton hosts North Carolina A&T next Saturday at 6 pm while the Bison entertain Florida A&M University, next Saturday at 1 pm.