One week after leading the Howard Bison to a 30-27 victory over archrival Morehouse, freshman signal caller Greg McGee was brought back down to earth a bit in a 23-9 defeat to the Norfolk State Spartans in the Bison’s home opener on Sept. 17 at Greene Stadium. McGhee threw for 248 yards and three scores last week against Morehouse but couldn’t find the same success against a swarming Spartan defense. Norfolk held McGhee to just 18-of-38 passing for 118 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

After McGhee found sophomore running back Charles Anderson from one yard out to put Howard ahead 6-0 and cap a 10-play, 80-yard drive in the first quarter, the Bison would only muster a field goal for the remainder of the game. Behind senior quarterback Chris Walley’s 239 passing yards and two touchdowns, the Spartans closed the third quarter with a 20-9 lead.

Although McGhee couldn’t find his rhythm in the passing game, he did lead all rushers with 100 yards on just 14 carries but the Norfolk defense was happy to settle for the freshman trying his hand on the ground rather than the air.
“Norfolk State did a good job mixing things up,” Howard coach Gary Harrell told

Howard reporters. “They forced Greg to throw the ball quicker than he wanted to and it resulted in some hurried throws. We were trying to stretch the field. We have to learn to be more patient and take the short gain.”

Norfolk took its first and final lead on a 21-yard hookup between Walley and senior receiver Victor Hairston on the Spartan’s first drive of the game. Walley’s next touchdown strike put the game out of reach after Walley found freshman wide receiver Keith Johnson for a 44-yard touchdown in the third quarter to put Norfolk up by 11 points.

The Bison (1-2, 0-1 MEAC) will have to regroup quickly as it sets to travel to Giants Stadium next weekend to battle Morgan State University in the Urban League Classic.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO