Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Howard off to hot start
By Donald Hunt
Special to ESPN.com
It’s not easy to go on the road and win a game against the defending conference champion, but that’s what Howard did over the weekend.
The Bison pulled off a big upset when they blocked the PAT attempt, which gave Howard a 37-36 overtime win against the reigning MEAC champion Norfolk State (2-1) at Dick Price Stadium in Norfolk, Va.
This was a huge win for the Bison. It was certainly a big victory for coach Gary “The Flea” Harrell. In his second year, Harrell is trying to build the football program, which hasn’t had a winning season since 2002 it finished with a 6-5 record.
It looks like Harrell has the Bison heading in the right direction. Last season, Howard posted a 4-4 league record and was 5-6 overall. If there’s ever anyone who knows how to win football games at Howard, it’s this guy.
He was a four-year standout wide receiver and kick returner with the Bison. Harrell and former Howard quarterback Jay Walker, who is now a college football analyst for ESPNU, guided the Bison to a MEAC title and a black college national championship in 1993.
The win over the Spartans probably shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Howard (2-1) had already posted a 30-29 victory over Division II Morehouse and made a decent showing in a losing effort (26-0) to Rutgers two weeks ago in Piscataway, N.J.
Howard has some pretty good players on both sides of the ball. But the Bison’s key player in the Norfolk State win was defensive back Julien David, who came up with the crucial block on the extra point.
Howard will have a chance to savor the win. The Bison doesn’t play again until Sept. 29 when they host Savannah State (0-2).
- Howard’s Julien David was named the MEAC Defensive Player of the Week. In addition to blocking the potential game-tying PAT in overtime, he had six total tackles, including five solo.
- Florida A&M running back James Owens was the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week after his 11 carries, 157 yards and three touchdowns in the Rattlers’ 44-20 victory over Hampton.
- Alabama A&M quarterback Deaunte Mason and Jackson State wide receiver Rico Richardson were named the co-SWAC Offensive Players of the Week. Mason completed 22-of-29 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns to help Alabama A&M defeat Prairie View A&M. Meanwhile, Richardson grabbed a career-high eight passes for 235 yards and three TDs, including a 67-yard catch, versus Texas Southern.
- Mississippi Valley State linebacker Kevin Woods was named the SWAC Defensive Player of the Week. He had 14 total and six solo tackles and one tackle for a loss of seven yards.
SBN Sports Network Black College Football Poll
2. Winston-Salem State
3. Tennessee State
4. Alabama A&M
5. Norfolk State
6. South Carolina State
7. Alabama State
8. Jackson State
10. Fort Valley State