The Howard University football team showed out during Homecoming with a crushing 35-17 defeat against Delaware State University.
The Delaware State Hornets scored a field goal to open up the game. Running back Marquis Gillis broke free for a 41-yard run on 1st and 20. In response, Howard scored 14 points throughout the rest of the first quarter. Graduate wide receiver Antoine Murray hauled in a long catch to get the Bison into Hornets territory. Senior quarterback Quinton Williams found sophomore receiver Nah’Shawn Hezekiah to get the Bison on the board. The Bison struck again when junior receiver Kasey Hawthorne ran for a long touchdown on a jet sweep, extending their lead to 14-3.
The Bison were scoreless in the second quarter after failing to score despite being in the Hornets’ territory three times. After a missed field goal and failed fourth-down conversion, Howard intercepted Hornets quarterback C.J. Henry. However, a fumble by senior running back Ian Wheeler negated any progress, keeping the score at 14-3.
Howard opened the third quarter with a significant kick return to put the Bison near midfield. The ensuing 51-yard drive resulted in a touchdown pass to senior Matthew McDonald to give Howard a 21-3 lead. After forcing Delaware State off the field again, Williams capitalized with a big first-down run and a rushing touchdown to start putting the game out of reach.
Delaware State cut the lead to 28-9 in the fourth quarter with a quick drive. However, a Jarett Hunter 74-yard run sealed the win for Howard. Delaware State scored a garbage-time touchdown to cut the lead to 35-17.
Howard’s offense felt unstoppable in this matchup. The Howard rushing attack collected more than 250 yards as well as three touchdowns. Quarterback Williams converted first downs using his mobility, finishing the game with seven rushing attempts for 32 yards and a touchdown. Delaware State came in with the No. 1 rushing defense in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) but could not stop the Bison on that end. Williams talked about his offensive line holding up on their side.
“They played big today,” Williams said. “It’s a tough front, playing against a good defense. Hats off to them up front; I love them guys. They showed out today.”
Delaware State was anticipated to win this matchup because of their ability to create pressure from their defensive line. However, it was Howard’s defense that brought the energy. Hornets quarterback Henry had arguably his worst performance this season, going 15-of-29 for 144 yards and one interception. Aside from a big run in the first quarter, Delaware State only totaled 78 yards on the ground. Williams praised the defensive effort by Howard.
“The defense was balling today,” Williams said. “Those guys take pride in their game, so hats off to them this week. The defense as a whole played tremendous, from start to finish.”
The special teams unit showed up big as well. Howard’s return game gave the team good field position throughout the matchup.
Tazim Wajed, a 1992 Howard graduate, spoke about his motivation to come back and support the Bison. Wajed was a student-athlete during his matriculation at Howard, and was selected by the Green Bay Packers as a safety in the 1993 NFL Draft.
“Howard is my life,” Wajed said. “From the moment I decided I would come here, I was going to pour everything into it. I did while I was here as a player. In terms of supporting these young men, we’ve been raising money for them and supporting them with the Jordan contract. I want to see them being a success. We want the same thing for them that we had for ourselves.”
Wajed believes wins like this will serve as momentum going forward.
“The young men that we have, they have talent,” Wajed said. “They just have to learn how to win. But they’re in the process, and you can see the strides being made by the influence of these coaches.”
Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee