Bison Win the First In-Conference Game of the Season
By: Lawrence Dow, Sports Editor (@LJeeeeezy)
In another first for Howard football, it was the first time that Howard Bison defeated the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at home since 1996. The Bison started off in conference play with a win for the first time since the 2012-2013 season. Howard proved their win over UNLV was not a stroke of luck by winning a hard-fought contest over Bethune-Cookman.
Early on, the game was a back and forth affair with both teams scoring often. The Wildcats started the scoring with a touchdown early in the first quarter after a 20-yard touchdown run by Larry Brihm. Howard answered back with one of the more interesting touchdowns you’ll hear about. Caylin Newton on a goal line carry fumbled the ball into the endzone, but it was recovered by Guy Lemonier Jr for a touchdown. The Wildcats answered back with a methodical 11 play 70-yard touchdown drive punctuated by a 23-yard strike from Brihm to Frank Brown. Howard not to be outdone scored on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Newton to Anthony Philyaw. Both teams went into halftime optimistic with the score tied at 14 apiece.
The Bison offense finally gave Howard its first lead of the game on a Newton QB sneak for a touchdown. The Bison would go on to miss the extra point, the bison were plagued on by special team’s miscues today; missing two field goals and one two-point conversion. The Wildcats then went on what seemed to be a game clinching run, after they scored 10 unanswered points. Those unanswered points were facilitated by 24-yard touchdown run by Que’shaun Byrd and a field goal by Uriel Hernandez.
Howard’s offense meanwhile had been stymied by the Wildcat defense which had taken over the game, stuffing the run and putting pressure on Newton on drop backs. Howard had four straight failed drives including a redzone interception, and a turnover on downs on the Wildcats 25-yard line. Ignoring all this Howard persevered as they have done all throughout the year; Howard’s defense stuffed Brihm on a fourth and two-yard attempt that could’ve ended the game had it succeeded. On Howard’s third trip deep into the Bethune-Cookman’s territory with only a little over three minutes left, they scored.
Howard’s final climatic drive featured a 4th and 6 conversion on a scramble by quarterback Caylin Newton. Following a sack of Newton and facing third down with 15 yards to go, Coach Mike London called a run play for Dezmond Wortham which caught the Wildcats off guard and went for a first down. Newton followed with a 25-yard strike to Jequez Ezzard. Next Newton sealed the game with a beautiful 5-yard touchdown run with only 39 seconds remaining in the game.
The Howard offense has rightly gotten a lot of the attention this season for its penchant for scoring touchdowns at a ridiculous rate. The offense this year is averaging 29.8 points a game. Even with the fantastic play from the offense today belonged to Howard’s defense. Howard’s defense bent early but was unbreakable at the end of the game allowing zero points in the fourth quarter and forcing stop after stop of the Wildcat offense.
Howard University started conference play off on the right foot with a win over the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. Howard put every team in the MEAC on notice that this season they will be a team to be reckoned with. Next week Howard looks to start a winning streak when they host the North Carolina Central Eagles.