The Howard Bison football team traveled to Hampton, Virginia on Saturday Sept. 3 for the annual rivalry game known as ‘The Battle Of The Real HU’ against the Hampton University Pirates.
This game marked the 97th meeting between the two teams, with Hampton leading the all-time record with 54 wins to Howard’s 41, and one tie.
When asked by The Hilltop about the importance of this rivalry specifically and if there was any difference in preparation heading into the game, senior tight-end Christion Carter responded by saying, “We took this game a lot more personal, being that it’s a rivalry game. There’s just a lot more stakes to it with a sense of pride, but obviously we prepare every week the same. We still want to go in there and get a win at the end of the day but we definitely took it a lot more personal. The history behind it adds to the magnitude, and then all of the fans and supporters from both sides add to it as well.”
The game started with a scoreless first quarter, but the momentum quickly swung to the Bison following an interception by Bison senior defensive back Christian Brown. This interception was Brown’s first as a Bison. The Bison were then able to lead a 67 yard drive, where senior quarterback Quinton Williams was able to connect with junior wide receiver Kasey Hawthorne to cap off the first score of the game.
However, as the game continued, things quickly got out of hand for the Bison. The team had several opportunities to get points on the board, however penalties and failed third-down conversions dampened any momentum the team might’ve had. This, combined with the Pirate offense finding their stride led to the Bison finding themselves down 14-6 at the half.
Down eight at the half, Christion Carter told The Hilltop that the message in the locker room was simple. “The feeling in the locker room during halftime was that we had to stop beating ourselves. Coach said that play makers make plays and that we had to step up and make a play.”
As the third quarter came and went, more of the same continued. The Bison offense simply could not get it going, and allowed the Pirates to increase their lead to 15, making the score 21-6.
However, as the fourth quarter rolled around, the Bison started to show life, and it looked as if a comeback was in full effect. A touchdown by Christion Carter got things back on track for the Bison and according to Carter, it was that score that got the team going. “When I scored a touchdown it was definitely the start of the comeback, so it was good. The team and the spirits went up a little bit. Then we started to get a little bit more momentum so the team felt good and then we felt that we just had to continue to build that momentum as the game went on.”
As the game continued, quarterback Quinton connected on three of his four total touchdowns of the night in the fourth quarter. With 1:28 left in the fourth quarter, Williams connected with Christion Carter for a two-point conversion that made the score 28-31, however a failed onside kick meant the comeback was over. In result, Hampton University was declared the winner with the final score remaining 31-28.
Even though the Bison fight wasn’t enough to defeat the Hampton Pirates, Howard University’s Student Government Administration President Jordyn Allen expressed to The Hilltop how the culture surrounding the game and fanfare is active as ever.
“I’d say that the atmosphere and culture at the game was very much so a healthy rivalry that has always been between the two institutions,” Allen said. “My personal experience going to the game as a student was overall fun. It was great to connect with some of my sorority sisters (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.) from Hampton, and one of my favorite parts of always going to the games is participating in the songs and the chants with the band as well as the cheerleaders do. I just think that the overall experience was amazing and my favorite part was definitely the cheer battle.”
The Bison hope to redeem themselves next weekend and capture their first win of the season Saturday, Sept. 9 as they travel to Tampa, Florida to take on the South Florida Bulls. Christian Carter expressed the Bison preparation with The Hilltop in his closing statements.“Same preparation just this time we’re gonna go into it still expecting to win and we’re gonna use that as an advantage to ourselves because they think we are underdogs.”
Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee