By MARK F. GRAY, Special to the AFRO

Howard Escapes Morgan with Tough Road Win

There’s always a battle of cultures when Howard faces Morgan State in one of the understated HBCU sports rivalries.  When the blue collar historic success of the Bears’ athletic program intersects with the blue blood perception of Bison lore it makes for interesting battles no matter what the records are. Howard’s culture has changed under second year head coach Mike London and they play now with a championship swag that was the difference in a 35-26 win over Morgan.

When the Bears had chances to deliver in game changing moments they couldn’t knock out blows.  Normally, there are five to seven plays that are the difference in any game.  The Bison made game changers that were the final margin of victory at Hughes Stadium.

Howard University coach Mike London signals for the two point conversion after their final touchdown during their 36-25 win over Morgan State at Hughes Stadium and Earl C. Banks Field. (Photo by Mark Gray)

Morgan opened a 10 point first quarter lead then fumbled deep in Howard territory setting them up at Bears three yard line. Bison quarterback Cailyn Newton scored on a one yard run but the point after was blocked and returned for an apparent safety. However, a holding call nullified it costing the Bears two points.  In the third quarter, the Bears led 26-20 and were within two yards of leading by 13. Morgan’s Joshua Chase ripped through the Bison secondary after a 38-yard run but was stripped by two yards from the end zone and it went through for a touchback.

From the start Bison took control with a vicious ground attack.  Howard outscored Morgan 15-0 in the fourth quarter. Dedrick Parson rushed for a game high 148 yards with touchdown runs of 31 and 26 yards in the game’s final period.  Newton only passed for 213 yards but deftly managed the game for the Bison who stay within a game of N.C. Central in the MEAC title chase.

Next: Howard – S.C. State (Homecoming)

Next: Morgan – at Florida A&M

Bowie State Regains Top Spot in CIAA North

Bowie State quarterback Amir Hall added another page to his legacy as the Bulldogs reassumed command of the CIAA North Division with a 27-13 victory at Virginia Union.  Hall, nursing a myriad of injuries, donned his Superman cape and completed 33 of 49 passes for 370 yards and two touchdowns.

Hall also moved into second place on the CIAA’s all-time touchdown passing list early in the fourth quarter.  His 40-yard touchdown completion to Maurice Williams was the 90th   of his college career moving him past the mark set by N.C. Central’s Earl “Air” Harvey during an illustrious era that concluded in 1988. The reigning national HBCU Player of the Year is now within seven TD passes from breaking the mark held Winston Salem State’s Kameron Smith quarter who had 96 between 2010-2012

After Virginia Union converted the game’s opening drive – 57 yards in nine plays – and took the lead with a 39-yard Jefferson Souza field goal. Bowie State answered with a 57-yard strike from Hall to Brandon Abrams who scored the game’s first touchdown and gave them the lead for good.

While Hall was making history, it was the Bulldogs defense that made big plays at critical times all afternoon.  Virginia Union rushed for 249 yards which limited the number of chances Bowie State had offensively.  However, once the Trojans were inside the red zone the Bulldogs defense held them to three field goals and kept them out of the end zone until late in the third quarter.

The win returns Bowie State’s CIAA Championship Game fate to them.  Wins in their final two games – at Lincoln then home for Elizabeth City State – and they return to Salem, Va. on Nov. 10 to play for their elusive conference championship.

Next: at Lincoln