North Carolina A&T 0
Homecoming took on a new meaning for Howard yesterday. Having played their past four games away from home, the road-weary Bison returned to Greene Stadium and came away with their first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory of the season, much to the delight of the several thousand alumni among the crowd of 10,508.
Behind another stellar defensive performance and the impressive debut of quarterback Darrell Turner, Howard defeated North Carolina A&T, 16-0. The shutout was the Bison's first since 2002, when they defeated Norfolk State, 21-0.
"It's been six weeks since we played a game at Greene Stadium," Coach Ray Petty said. "The entire team is excited about coming back home. For it to be the homecoming game made it even sweeter."
Turner threw for one touchdown and ran for another in his first career start. Tailback Keon Coleman helped take the pressure off the rookie quarterback by rushing 28 times for a career-high 162 yards, his second 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
"We had a long talk last night," Coleman said. "I told him it's just an ordinary day. Treat it like an ordinary day. It's going to be no problem. We have faith in each other."
Howard (4-3, 1-3 MEAC) had not played at home since Sept. 9, the Bison's second game of the season. During their long road trip, the Bison went 2-2, including a tough 7-0 loss at Morgan State last week. During that game, starting quarterback Ronald Venters, who leads the MEAC in passing yards per game (169.8), injured his elbow.
Without Venters in the lineup and because of the rainy weather, Howard kept the offense on the ground. Coleman, who missed most of the last two seasons because of injuries, was a workhorse in surpassing his previous high of 157 yards set in the 2003 season opener.
But Turner made the big plays on offense for the Bison. Turner, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound redshirt freshman, had thrown only five passes -- completing two -- in his college career. His longest completion went for three yards.
"A big game like this -- the seniors want to get a win, the team needed a win -- the offensive line just told me to do what I do," Turner said.
After his first two passes fell incomplete, Turner made his third count. He connected with Jarahn Williams for a 37-yard touchdown throw to put Howard ahead, 7-0, with 9 minutes 57 seconds left in the second quarter. Turner's third completion, a 58-yarder to Thyron Lewis, set up the Bison's second score, a one-yard plunge by Turner that increased Howard's lead to 13-0 entering halftime. Turner completed 3 of 7 passes for 102 yards and one touchdown. Noam Dror's 36-yard field goal in the third quarter capped the Bison's scoring.
North Carolina A&T (3-5, 2-3) had averaged 146.7 rushing yards per game, but found nowhere to run against Howard. The Bison, who are fourth against the run in Division I-AA (67.7 yards per game), held the Aggies to minus-five yards rushing. It was the fifth time this season Howard has held an opponent under 100 yards rushing.
* GEORGETOWN 24, FORDHAM 21: Nick Cangelosi threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Glenn Castergine with 49 seconds left in the fourth quarter as the host Hoyas rallied past the Rams.
Marcus Slayton rushed for a career-high 192 yards and a touchdown for the Hoyas (4-4, 2-2 Patriot League), who overcame a 21-3 deficit to beat Fordham for the first time in 11 games.
Derric Daniels threw three touchdown passes in an 80-second span late in the first half for Fordham (0-7, 0-3), which has lost 10 straight.