It’s been a season of ups and downs for the Howard Bison, who continue to make strides as the season winds down.

Howard’s most recent high came as they trumped longtime rival Hampton Pirates, 10-7, claiming their first victory in the rivalry since 1995. In the classic battle of the “Real HU,” Howard stole a road win at Hampton’s Armstrong Stadium to improve their Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) record to 4-3, and even their overall record at 5-5.

Freshman quarterback Greg McGhee passed for 132 yards, but his two-yard rush in the second quarter gave the Bison their lone touchdown of the day, enough to hold off the overconfident Pirates. Howard was able to control the game behind senior running back Terrence Leffall, whose career-high 42 carries and 131 rushing yards, kept the Bison offense steady on a cold afternoon.

While Howard’s running game was dominant, their defense was even more impressive. Hampton’s only score came on a fumble recovery in the end zone in the third quarter. Howard’s defense, in contrast, forced two interceptions and held their opponent to just 16 rushing yards.

The swarming Bison defense forced a series of three-and-outs, limiting the Pirates’ time of possession to just 18:41. The jubilance from snapping a 14-game losing streak allowed Howard’s players to douse first-year head coach Gary Harrell a Gatorade bath on the sidelines after the game.

It’s been a long time since the Bison were able to claim the title of the Real HU on the gridiron, and their latest win should ring bells on their city campus for the rest of the season.

“We don’t get caught up in defending any title like that because in our opinion there’s only one HU and that’s Howard University,” Harrell told “But no question this is a great win. We feel as though we’ve finally turned the corner.”


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO