WASHINGTON, DC - When Morgan State University and Howard University get together for a gridiron clash on Saturday, it will mark the 73rd time that the two proud institutions have met since 1889. It has become one of the storied rivalries in Black College football. The Bears hold a slight, 39-33-1 advantage in the series.
In addition to it being an important conference game, it takes on an even greater significance as it will be the 39th New York Urban League Football Classic. The venue also provides a special attraction: It is being played in the new Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ. Kickoff is lated for 3:30 pm EST.
“I am sure that it will have a special meaning to the young men that we have on the Morgan State football team,” said Morgan State head coach Donald Hill-Eley. “This might be the only time that they get to play in a professional football venue. And it brings great exposure for our alumni and the University.”
It is the first conference of the season for the Bears (1-2 overall, 0-0 in the MEAC) while the Bison (0-3, 0-2 in the MEAC) will be looking for their first win of the season.
“When Howard and Morgan State get together, you can throw the records out of the window,” said Howard head coach Carey Bailey. “If you look at history, especially recent years, the games between these two institutions have gone down to the wire. I think the fans are going to be treated to a highly entertaining and competitive game.”
Morgan State has won the past five games, including last year’s 14-7 slugfest in a downpour at Hughes Stadium that was national televised on ESPNU. The last six times that the Beltway rivals have met, the games have been decided by seven points or less, including two that went into overtime.
The Bears opened the season with a 14-7 win over Bowie State and followed with losses to the University of Maryland and 23rd ranked North Dakota State. Morgan State has played well on defense but the Bears have had problems scoring, with 24 of their 26 total points coming on field goals.
The Bison lost their opener 38-7 to Holy Cross, dropped a tough 31-21 home decision to rival Hampton and then succumbed 50-7 to Florida A&M University at home last week. Howard features junior Willie Carter, regarded as one of the top wide receivers in college football. Carter, who has over 100 receptions for over 1,000 yards in his career, is currently averaging 22 yards per reception this season.
“We are looking at what Howard’s record is or who they played,” cautioned Coach Hill-Eley. “We know that they are hungry for a win and that it will be a very competitive game.”