The Howard University Bison entered their final game of the season just one away from earning their first winning record in nearly a decade. Unfortunately for the Bison, they didn’t get that one victory, as they blew a 12-point fourth quarter lead in a 39-36 loss to the Delaware State Hornets on Nov. 19 at Alumni Stadium in Delaware, Md.
The win was the first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) victory of the season for the Hornets (3-8 overall, 1-7 MEAC), and spoiled the Bison’s chance at shaking the losing funk they’ve carried for nine straight seasons.
At one point it appeared as if Howard (5-6 overall, 4-4 MEAC) had the game in control, after Terrance Leffall scored on a two-yard touchdown run to push the Bison ahead, 36-24, at the top of the fourth quarter. But Delaware State fought back with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Hornets quarterback Nick Elko threw both to receiver Travis Tarpely, the first a 38-yard pass, and the second a 28-yard pass. Elko finished the game completing 28-of-44 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns. Tarpley caught a school-record 13 receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
“Everything was self-inflicted out there for us today,” said Howard first-year head coach Gary?Harrell. “They wanted to win just like us. It’s not as much what they did to us as what we did to ourselves. We had a lot of missed assignments.”
Howard freshman quarterback Stephen McGhee had a decent performance, completing 20 of 26 passes for 168 yards while rushing for 63 yards and a touchdown. Leffall led?all backs with 94 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries. But Howard’s defense simply couldn’t stop the Hornets’ offense, which recorded more than 400 yards.
“There were just too many missed opportunities,” said Howard linebacker Keith Pough, who finished with 12 tackles. “The defense missed a lot of tackles and did not take advantage of the chances we had.”