During its four-game winning streak, Howard played nearly error-free football. Quarterback Marcos Moreno made smart decisions and didn't force throws. Tailbacks Jay Colbert and Antoine Rutherford held onto the football. Place kicker Justin Brantley was consistent, and the rest of the special teams played, well, special.
But in last week's 14-13 overtime loss at North Carolina A&T, the Bison had a punt blocked, threw four interceptions, fumbled into the end zone and missed an extra-point attempt that would have tied the score in overtime. The loss dropped Howard to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference entering Saturday's homecoming game against Norfolk State at Greene Stadium.
"That was a tough one," Howard Coach Ray Petty said. "It sure was."
The Bison lost after Tralan Andrews's snap was high and Brantley's extra-point attempt sailed wide left. It was the third time this season that Brantley, a freshman transfer from Illinois, missed an extra point. He also missed two field goal attempts against the Aggies.
"He's been consistent for us," Petty said. "He's been kicking well. He'll be a little down, but he'll bounce back. He's resilient."
Brantley isn't the only one who had an off game. Rutherford, who ran 31 times for 150 yards against North Carolina A&T, fumbled into the Aggies' end zone. Moreno was responsible for the four interceptions, including one at the Aggies' goal line and another in their end zone. A high snap caused Noam Dror's punt to get blocked at the Bison 9, setting up North Carolina A&T's only touchdown in regulation.
Norfolk State hasn't played since a 58-10 loss at Hampton on Oct. 16, and the Spartans' only win was a 27-14 victory over North Carolina A&T on Oct. 2.
"I'm sure Norfolk State is going to be riding high, trying to come in here and spoil our homecoming," Petty said. "We're going to have to reload and get ourselves back together."
Hoyas vs. Fordham
Georgetown, which lost 27-10 at Monmouth last week, returns to Patriot League action in Saturday's game at Fordham (4-3, 1-1). The Hoyas (2-5, 0-3) are still seeking their first Patriot League victory this season.
The Hoyas trailed Monmouth 10-7 at halftime, but the Hawks scored two touchdowns in 41/2 minutes of the third quarter. The Hoyas failed to block a punt, as Monmouth's Sean Dennis escaped and ran for 28 yards and a first down, setting up a touchdown pass.
Then Georgetown freshman Emir Davis fumbled at his 5-yard line, and the Hawks scored on the next play.
Va. Teams Ranked
Three Division I-AA teams from Virginia are ranked in the USA Today/ESPN coaches' top 25: No. 9 James Madison, No. 14 Hampton and No. 15 William & Mary. . . .
Catholic's football team has an 0-7 record, but the Cardinals are showing some progress in Coach Tom Clark's first season back at the school.
Catholic has posted season-high totals in points in each of its past two losses, 56-22 at La Salle and 41-26 at Hampden-Sydney.