Howard football suffers 14th straight loss to Hampton

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By Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 12, 2010; 12:20 AM

Early in Saturday's game, it appeared that Howard's lengthy skid against Hampton would at long last be coming to an end. The Bison took control at the start, but once again, the Pirates proved too much for them.

Howard's 31-21 setback before 7,086 at Greene Stadium was its 14th consecutive loss to Hampton. The Bison's last win against the Pirates came in 1996.

Though Howard (0-2, 0-1 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) performed better than last year's 37-0 defeat, the Bison had too many miscues in the second half and too many defensive breakdowns.

"I felt real confident going into this game that we were going to beat them," linebacker Keith Pough said. "We fought. We fought hard, but we made mistakes. It hurts. It hurts me deeply."

The game turned on Hampton's final touchdown of the first half. Howard had limited the Pirates (1-1, 1-0) to one touchdown and had just scored to go ahead, 14-7.

Then, with less than 90 seconds remaining before halftime, wide receiver Dyrii McCain slipped behind the coverage and caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from David Legree that tied the score. A miscommunication between the cornerback and safety led to McCain being wide open.

"It was a breakdown," Howard Coach Carey Bailey said. "Those are the kind of things we can't have happen."

That touchdown propelled Hampton into halftime and gave it momentum going into the second half. The Pirates capitalized by scoring on their first two possessions of the second half, and Howard never threatened after that.

The Bison have one of the most dynamic offensive players in the MEAC in wide receiver Willie Carter.

But Carter is only as effective as the quarterback throwing to him.

With Howard unsettled at quarterback and committed to running the ball against Hampton, Carter wasn't much of a factor against the Pirates. He caught three passes for 91 yards, 78 of those yards coming on a pass late in the game that set up the Bison's final score. The 78-yard catch was the longest of his career.

Howard made it clear from the start what its game plan was going to be: run the ball. This strategy is a clear departure from last season. The Bison, who had only four rushing touchdowns all of last season, ran for three scores against Hampton.

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