(New Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ)— The Howard Bison (0-4) are barely out of their fourth game of the season (a 20-3 loss) against the Morgan State Bears but they are already on their fourth signal caller of the year. After junior quarterback Casey Council threw an interception on his first pass of the second half, Bison Coach Carey Bailey didn’t hesitate to make a drastic switch. After disappointing cameos from Council and fellow quarterbacks Terry Bradden and Jarad Dorsey in previous games, Bailey needed something fresh, so he turned to true freshman Randy Liggins Jr.

Liggins didn’t fare any better however. His 1-for-7 showing could only muster a two-yard completion while netting five yards on eight carries. As bad as Liggins was on the day, his two-yard effort was still two yards better than his predecessor Council. The junior only threw five passes on the afternoon but failed to complete a single attempt while throwing three interceptions. Council’s redzone interception with just over four minutes left in the second quarter put a struggling offense in an insurmountable 17-0 hole. Morgan State safety Reshaude Miller spied Council on a rollout before snatching his pass and racing 89 yards for a Bears’ touchdown to deflate the Bison sideline.

Morgan State was leading 10-0 before Council’s interception but a touchdown on that drive would’ve drawn the Bison within one score instead of knocking them back three. The Bears’ understanding of a basic Bison offense has been something shared by most of Howard’s opponents this year. To make up for the lack of a proven quarterback, the Bison have experimented with a triple option offense this season but the scheme has often resulted in single-digit outings. Through four games, Howard is averaging a paltry 9.5 points per game —changes need to happen fast!

With his quarterbacks on constant rotation, Bailey responded without hesitation when asked what he was looking for in a signal caller: “A guy that can score,” he said. “All four guys that we have bring something different to the table: one guy can run, another guy can pass, one guy can read it but we’re trying to find a guy who can do all three.”

Howard will return to Washington, D.C. next week for a home game with Lincoln. But as for Howard’s starting quarterback next week, even Bailey couldn’t provide an immediate answer.

“Ask me next week,” he said.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO