Howard holds off Morgan, 29-17 Bears' bid to upset Bison 2nd time in row falls short

November 12, 1995|By Kent Baker | Kent Baker,SUN STAFF

For a few fleeting moments at muddy Hughes Stadium yesterday, underdog Morgan State appeared ready to spring a second consecutive upset against archrival Howard.

Last season, the Bears scored 17 fourth-quarter points to override a 14-3 deficit and shock the Bison in Washington.

This time, they rallied from 19 points behind with two touchdowns and -- with still 8:43 to play in the game -- trailed, 22-17.

But Howard responded with a grueling 13-play ground assault, bulled in the clinching touchdown and spoiled the Bears' deja vu plans, 29-17, in their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game.

"It was gut-check time," said Bison coach Steve Wilson. "Everyone knows Morgan can score, so we didn't want to give them too many swipes at us.

"Our big offensive line [the average size in the interior is 6 feet 4, 305 pounds] and Aray Williams closed the door."

Williams sat out last season under Proposition 48, and has been only a minimal part of the Howard offense this fall. That all changed in one drive.

The sophomore carried 11 of 13 times and accounted for all but three of the 70 necessary yards as Howard (6-4, 2-3 MEAC) wore out the Bears' defense.

So, the final home game for Morgan's seniors simply brought the team's sixth straight defeat and tainted the milestone set by senior quarterback Michael Moore, who passed for 189 yards to break his single-season school record with 2,205.

"I would have much rather had the victory than the record," said Moore.

Actually, Morgan (1-9, 0-6) had a chance to put Howard in deep trouble early. The Bison lost two fumbles, missed a field-goal try and punted on its first four possessions.

With a 3-2 lead, the Bears were at the Howard 3 thanks to consecutive 34-yard runs by senior Andre Thomas, who gained 114 yards on 18 carries.

But Moore was hit unexpectedly with an all-out blitz while trying to throw for the touchdown, his arm was deflected and Bobby Jones intercepted the carom and rumbled to the Morgan 25.

A clipping penalty brought the Bison back to its own 27, but the damage was serious for Morgan. "I got caught off guard," said Moore. "They started coming late."

Howard seized control by marching 73 yards to a touchdown, Williams barging the final yard, and four plays later, Billy Jenkins blocked a Morgan punt and Lateef Bryant gathered in the ricochet for a touchdown.

Suddenly, instead of a touchdown-plus lead, Morgan was down 12 points.

"That's the way things have been going for us all year," said Thomas. "A lack of concentration, a penalty, whatever, and we're behind."

After missing two field-goal tries -- one a 55-yarder -- on a surface deteriorating by the minute because of rain, Morgan fell behind 22-3 early in the fourth quarter. Bison quarterback Pep Hamilton hit Stefan Cameron on a crossing pattern and Cameron easily covered the final 35 yards to complete a 57-yard play.

Within fewer than five minutes, Morgan scored twice, the second time on a sensational run by D'Anthony Cameron to complete a 63-yard play.

"Our defense played well, but might have been on the field a little too long," said Morgan coach Ricky Diggs. "Toward the end, their size might have been a factor."

It was an emotional game for Howard, which earlier in the week lost former teammate Derrick Wynn, who was killed in a cross-fire less than a mile from the school.

"We didn't know how they would react," said Wilson. "So many of these kids were close to Derrick, and we'll be with his family next week. But we were prepared to play."

Next for Morgan

Opponent: Hampton

Site: Armstrong Field, Hampton, Va.

When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Record: 7-3

Yesterday: Beat Fayetteville State, 28-7.

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