It probably was not by chance that Howard University scheduled Virginia State for its homecoming game yesterday at RFK Stadium. For the past six seasons. Howard had averaged 31 points per game in whipping State each year.
he Bison, took full advantage of the Trojans' generosity yesterday, conveting three of the visitors' turnovers into touchdowns, in chalking up a surprisingly easy 33-0 victory in a nonconference game before 7,500.
The Trojans came into the game sporting a four-game winning streak while Howard (2-3) had been struggling, dropping its last two games. But Howard dominated the line of scrimmage today and did what it wanted throughout most of the contest.
"Homecoming is the time to snap out of a losing streak," said Howard coach Doug Porter after watching his club pile up 334 yards in total offense. "We didn't have much information on them (State) and all we could do was just go and play. It didn't hurt us much, I guess."
Virginia State's powder-puff attack couldn't have hurt anyone yesterday. It gained only 36 yards rushing and quarterbacks Tony Coldren. Tony Curtis and Tim Rush completed 11 of 27 passes, most of them coming in the waning moments of the game. The trio was sacked a total of six times.
"We knew their offensive line couldn't match us man for man," said Howard defensive tackle James Hunter, who, despite an ailing shoulder got in for few plays and contributed two sacks and three tackled. "I couldn't play that much but everybody did the job. Victory sure is sweet."
After a fruitless first quarter, Porter inserted Brvan Thomas at quarterback in place of starter Ronald Wilson and the Bison offense hit a second gear.
William Lee's interception gave Howard possession at the Trojan 33. A run gained three yards before Thomas hit Fitz Fowler with a perfect strike for an apparent touchdown. But the Bison drew one of their 10 penalties, this one an illegal-procedure call. However, Thomas found Fowler again for 20 yards for the first down to the 17 and five running plays later. Thomas bullied his way over for the score. Howard Ward added the ewxtra point and Howard led, 7-0 with 8:04 left in the first half.
What happened to State the next 72 seconds was more than enough to keep the Trojan coaching staff huddled in the locker room long after the game.
Following the ensuring kickoff, Coldren and Rufus Crawford missed connections on an attempted pitchput on first down and Geln Frazier recovered at the visitors' 38. A 15-yard penalty against State followed, and THomas immediately hit Darryl Dennis with a 33-yard touchdown pass. Ward again was perfect on his kick and Howard's lead was 14-0.
Crawford mishandled the next kickoff and finally was tackled at his one-yard line, George Leonard, who rushed for 180 yards in State's 54-6 win over Shaw last week, got two yards before Coldren and Crawford pulled a repeat of their Alphonse-and-Gaston act of the previous series.
Coldren's pitch went behind Crawford into the end zone and Howard's Scott Facyson fell on the ball for a touchdown. Ward's boot sent the Bison out to a 21-0 advantage.
"I've been waiting to score 12 years. I've played on the line since I was in elementary school," said the 6-foot-1, 190-pound scphomore from ST!Petersburg,Fla. "A lot of teams think the option play is our weakness but we've worked on it and have been looking for it. I was a little surprised they tried it then."
With a comfortable three-touchdown cushion Porter reminded his troops what happened at last year's homecoming when the Bison went to the locker room leading by the same margin only to finish the game deadlocked 21-21.
"We didn't want any letdown but I still wanted all of the young people to play," said Porter. "Thomas came right in and picked up the team. We needed something to get us going. We couldn't depend on the defense to do it all."
The 72-score scoring blitz, along with a sure touchdown pass, dropped by State's Steve Ellerbe near the end of the first half, removed whatever string remained in the Trojans.
Ward added third-quarter, 34-yard field goal and Paul Ball nailed Rush for a fourth-period safety for a 26-Howard advantage.
Thomas completed seven of 14 passes for 141 yards but had two interceptions.
"One was a bad pass, the other I should've run," said the smiling Thomas." "When I was on the sidelines, ia was studying their defenses and I saw a few weaknesses. I went right at them.
With the contest safely tucked away, Howard filled the field with substitutes. On the final play of th e game, No.23 scored a TD on a tackle-breaking, 16-yard run. After several minutes of searching for the number not on any roster, it was finally determined the score belonged to Beeman Veasley.
At that point, no cared.