Problems on offense, defense and special teams have been dogging Howard University's football team in losses the past three weeks. Against Morgan State yesterday, the Bison found some answers by unleashing "The Flea."
Gary (The Flea) Harrell, a 5-foot-7, 145-pound freshman from Miami, had 372 all-purpose yards and had long punt returns and catches to set up four touchdowns as Howard ended its three-game losing streak with a 49-13 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory over Morgan State.
Morgan State fell to 0-10 overall, 0-6 in the league in extending the nation's longest I-AA losing streak to 10. Howard is 6-3, 3-1, and can do no worse than tie for the league championship if it wins its last two games, against Florida A&M and Delaware State.
"We have a chance to carve our own destiny," said Howard Coach Steve Wilson. "We have a lot of work to do, but with two games to go we are right where we wanted to be. We are in the hunt; we could have been playing out the string."
In its previous three games, that is exactly what Howard often looked like it was doing. It had 15 turnovers in those games and averaged 11 points a game.
Wilson elected to start freshman quarterback Chris Dubose yesterday, hoping the change would affect the entire team.
Although Dubose had started one other game, a 29-0 victory over Division II Morris Brown College in September, and had played at least one series in every other game, Wilson admitted earlier in the week that the strong-armed 6-3, 175-pounder from Lynchburg, Va., was not totally ready to take over the offense.
Dubose's dropback style is a drastic constrast to Donald Carr, who has improved dramatically in his throwing the last two seasons, but whose best talent is running the option.
Although Dubose's completion ratio of 15 of 38 was not overly impressive, Wilson wanted him to throw long and often. He finished with 275 yards passing and three touchdowns.
His completions included a 57-yard first-period touchdown pass to Mike Caswell to tie the score at 7 after Tony James (seven catches for 150 yards) had scored for the Bears on a 36-yard pass from David Partin.
Dubose also completed passes of 53 and 29 yards to Harrell, a 29-yarder to tight end Brian Speed, a 39-yarder to Tony Hyman and a 21-yarder to running back Robert Taylor.
"He gives us a different perspective," Wilson said. "I expected him to be able to play this year, but not to start. But here it is, the ninth game of the season, and he is starting."
Wilson then pronounced Dubose, who suffered bruised ribs late in the fourth quarter, as the starter next week against Florida A&M.
A dimension few teams have is what Harrell gives the Bison.
The Bison had five sacks. Defensive tackle Gary Willingham was outstanding with nine tackles and a sack.