Howard University's football team came into yesterday's game against Morris Brown College hoping to rest several banged up key players, give some younger players an opportunity to play under pressure, and most of all, to avoid a letdown following last week's big win over Southern University.

The Bison handily accomplished all their goals with a 29-0 victory before 10,205 at Greene Stadium. It was Howard's fourth shutout in its last 14 games and sixth straight victory over the past two seasons.

Howard (2-0) limited Morris Brown (1-1) to 129 total yards and allowed the NAIA school to complete only four of 35 passes.

Howard started freshman quarterback Chris Dubose in place of Donald Carr (bruised left, non-throwing shoulder), and he completed 11 of 25 passes for 183 yards. Tailback Robert Taylor, a little-used junior, rushed for two touchdowns and caught five passes for 84 yards in place of J.J. Carpenter (pulled hamstring).

And the defense, with powerful pass rusher Gary Willingham playing sparingly due to a variety of bruises, still managed six sacks. In last week's 26-21 win over Southern, Willingham -- a defensive end -- had three of Howard's eight sacks.

"I feel like everyone could have played, but I also felt players like Chris Dubose and Robert Taylor could get the job done . . . and Ryan Heathcock {111 yards rushing and one touchdown on 19 carries} took on more of a featured role," said Howard Coach Steve Wilson.

"Today, we saw enough different people so I can evaluate them. You have to be able to see how people react in situations before you can do that."

Wilson saw many good reactions in a 5 minute 27 second span of the first half when the Bison scored all four touchdowns.

Morris Brown had driven to Howard's 3 early in the first half, but Joe Olidge's interception in the end zone took much of the fight out of the Fighting Wolverines. Before the first quarter ended, Morris Brown had used three quarterbacks, including two freshmen, and was struggling to get back to Atlanta with a minimum of bandaged bodies and bruised egos.

Dubose directed an 80-yard drive that concluded with Heathcock's one-yard run behind the blocks of right tackle Dante Reed and center Paul Ramseur for a 7-0 lead with 4:44 remaining in the first quarter.

Freshman quarterback Keith Jones started the next series for Morris Brown, whose starter Rondal Griffin suffered a twisted right knee earlier in the period.

On the first snap taken by Jones, the Bison, who had the No. 1 defense in Division I-AA last year, came with full pressure. Outside linebacker Anthony Hooper sacked Jones, whose ensuing fumble was recovered by Elton Parish at the Morris Brown 18.

"We knew the second quarterback was a freshman so we were going to come at him all the time," said Hooper, a Dunbar High graduate. "I was trying to hit him hard. He never saw me."

Three plays later, Taylor followed the blocks of Ramseur and left tackle Nigel Greene for a three-yard touchdown.

On the second play of the Wolverines' next possession, Jones again showed his inexperience. On an out pattern for Derk Sibley, Jones was intercepted by safety Eric Gore. The result was a 26-yard touchdown return for a 20-0 Bison lead.

Against Southern, Gore went for an interception and missed, getting beat for a 63-yard touchdown.

"I redeemed myself today," he said. "This time, the ball was just laying out there. I read the play all the way in the quarterback's eyes. Once I grabbed it, I just wanted to get to the end zone. I don't think it was a gamble -- but I think if I didn't intercept it, I was going to totally miss it."

Dubose's 22-yard completion to Taylor for a first down at the Morris Brown 17 set up a two-yard touchdown run by Taylor that put Howard ahead, 26-0, 43 seconds into the second quarter.

"We thought we could come here and win this game," said second-year Morris Brown Coach Greg Thompson. "There were some things that happened early {the interception on the first-quarter drive} and we didn't take advantage. But once our quarterback got hurt, an inexperienced kid came in and made two critical errors. After that, I felt {Howard} took control of the line of scrimmage."

Over the final three periods, the Bison were concentrating on preserving the shutout. Late in the third period, it looked like Morris Brown would score, but inside linebacker Emmitt Smith made a play that would be everlastingly memorable if it had come in a game, and a situation, with more meaning.

On fourth and goal at the Howard 2, Griffin's fake on a play-action pass froze the Howard defense. He tossed the ball to the right flat to Bernard Hitson, who appeared to have an easy path to the end zone. But Smith rushed up and smothered Hitson at the 1.

"I had the second back out of the backfield on that play, but the first back came out," said Smith. "I had to get him. I came up, hit him and just kept pulling him back. All I wanted to do was keep him out of the end zone. We all wanted that shutout real bad."