Howard University's Curtis Chappell returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown tonight, but the Bison remained winless when Bethune-Cookman rallied for a 23-14 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory.
Sophomore fullback King Green scored the Wildcats' go-ahead touchdown on a 25-yard run in the third quarter. Green ran for 109 yards from scrimmage, 100 in the second half, as Bethune-Cookman (2-1) switched from its passing game to rally from a 14-13 halftime deficit. The Florida school was helped by three field goals from Manny Manolas.
Howard (0-3), playing better than in its first two games, gave the Wildcats numerous opportunities with fumbled punts. The Bison committed seven turnovers -- four fumbles and three interceptions.
Both teams stumbled and fumbled through the first half. Combined, in those 30 minutes, Howard and Bethune-Cookman produced six turnovers and 150 penalty yards.
Despite all the mistakes, it was the best half of the season for Howard. The Bison scored more points in the first half than they did in the first two games and took a one-point lead into the locker room.
Sophomore fullback Ronnie Epps scored on a one-yard run with 3:22 remaining in the first quarter. The touchdown was set up when William Fowler picked off a pass from Bernard Hawk.
Then it was Bethune-Cookman's turn. Howard's Andre Matthews fumbled a fielded punt to give the Wildcats possession at midfield. Bethune-Cookman had to settle for a field goal attempt by Manolas. It was wide, but Howard was called for roughing the kicker.
Hawk, owner of just about every school and conference passing record, then rolled out and threw a three-yard pass to Arthur Simmons for a 7-7 tie.
Two plays after the kickoff, Howard quarterback Leon Brown pitched back to a nonexistent teammate and Mark Irwin recovered for Bethune-Cookman. Manolas hit a 46-yard field goal, the first of two he made in the half.
The Wildcats' 10-7 lead evaporated immediately. Chappell, one foot in his end zone, took the kickoff and darted to the left side, got a block, and the 170-pound sophomore from Miami went untouched on a 100-yard return. With the conversion, Howard was up, 14-10.
Manolas' 30-yard kick completed the first-half scoring.
Hawk, who had 229 yards passing in the first half, started off the second half strongly. On the first play from scrimmage, he found his favorite target, Sebastian Brown (nine catches tonight for 222 yards) wide open for a 46-yard gain. Two plays later, it was a 39-yard gain to Brown that took the Wildcats to the Howard six.
Three unsuccessful plays forced a field goal attempt. Manolas missed a chip shot from 21 yards out.
More mistakes helped Bethune-Cookman pull away. Howard's Frankie Hall fumbled a punt return with 5:34 to play in the third quarter and Bethune-Cookman recovered.
Leading rusher Green took Hawk's handoff on the next play. After breaking through the line, he cut left and broke three tackles on a 25-yard touchdown run to put Bethune-Cookman ahead, 20-14.
For the game, Brown completed seven of 25 passes for 100 yards and was intercepted three times. With leading ball-carrier Harvey Reed out injured, Epps ran 13 times for 68 yards. Howard, which had 208 total yards, managed only 60 yards and five first downs in the second half.
Chappell had 194 yards on five kickoff returns.