Florida A&M University (FAMU) parlayed Howard University mistakes into 31 points en route to a 50-7 win in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference matchup at Greene Stadium in Washington, D.C.

After a slow start by both teams, FAMU (2-1 overall, 2-0 MEAC) set the tone on their first score as Curtis Holcomb intercepted a Casey Council pass and set up a touchdown run. It took FAMU just two plays to go 37 yards, capped by Lavante Page scoring from three yards out near the end of the first quarter.

Howard failed to score on their first possession of the second quarter, and FAMU struck with a big play as Martin Ukpai (9 of 17, 188 yards; 8 rushes, 69 yards) connected with Eddie Rocker on a 78-yard bomb that increased the team’s lead to 14-0.

Howard responded on its next possession by going 79 yards in six plays, highlighted by a 59-yard run by Justin Duncan that set up his two-yard plunge that made the score 14-7.

FAMU struck again on Howard’s next possession when cornerback Qier Hall returned a Howard fumble 30 yards to up the score to 21-7.

FAMU tacked on another score when it blocked a Howard punt and Page scored his second TD of the game on a subsequent play, this time from four yards out to give the visitors a 27-7 lead at the half.

“Things really spiraled out on control for us when they got the blocked punt,” said Howard head coach Carey Bailey. “We are not good enough to make a mistake and let a team get up on us that big.”

FAMU controlled the game on offensive, defensive and special teams in the second half, taking the opening second half kickoff and marching 63 yards in 11 plays with Rocker bolting in from four yards to make it 33-7.

Using the accurate passing and timely runs of Ukpai, FAMU next marched 78 yards in eight plays, with Rocker adding his third TD of the day on an 18-yard run.

FAMU would tack on a 47-yard field goal by Trevor Scott and a touchdown by Mike Ducree, who recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to close out the scoring.

“All three phases were a disaster today,” said Coach Bailey. “We didn’t play well on offense defense or special teams.”

One of the bright spots for Howard on offense was the play of freshman running back Justin Duncan, who led all rushers with a career- and game-high 102 yards and his first career touchdown. Defensively, Howard got an outstanding performance from red-shirt sophomore linebacker Keith Pough, who registered 11 tackles, and two sacks, sophomore linebacker Kurt Magum, who had eight tackles, and red-shirt senior linebacker Jermell Ellis, who added four tackles, an interception, a blocked kick.

NEXT UP:
  FAMU travels to Atlanta, Ga. to take on the Tennessee State Tigers next Saturday in the Bank of America Classic at 4 p.m. in the Georgia Dome. Howard will be looking to get in the win column when they take on the Morgan State Bears next Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in the New York Urban League Classic at the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

 

Ed Hill Jr.

Special to the AFRO