Both Bowie State and Howard University opened their football seasons this past weekend, but the historically Black universities garnered mixed results.
The Bowie State Bulldogs used their defense to stymie Delaware State, 22-11, in a non-conference affair in Dover, Delaware; while the Howard Bison staged a furious second-half comeback that fell short in a 33-23 road loss at Eastern Michigan University (EMU).
Bowie State (1-0) jumped out to a 15-3 first-half lead and dominated the Hornets, limiting them to 196 yards of total offense. For the Bulldogs, the victory was significant as it marked only the second time that they had defeated an opponent from the Division 1 FCS level.
“Today was a big win for the program,” said Bowie State second-year head coach Kyle Jackson. “We have been preparing for this moment since last November when the season ended.”
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Amir Jenkins (Baltimore, Maryland) led Bowie State’s passing attack with 247 yards through the air. Redshirt junior running back Corey Johnson (Upper Marlboro, Maryland) totaled 38 yards to lead the BSU’s ground attack in the game. Redshirt junior running back Kevon Campbell (Washington, D.C.) also tacked on 21 yards and one touchdown on the ground, while graduate senior wide receiver Keshane Hinckley (Laurel, Maryland) hauled in seven catches for 101 yards.
Defensively, graduate senior defensive Back Keith Williams (Baltimore, MD) made his presence felt in the passing game, recording three receptions for 93 yards. Graduate senior linebacker Uvel Paul (Severn, Maryland) led the Bowie State defensive effort, collecting five tackles, 4.0 TFL, and three sacks.
Jenkins added one recovered fumble as the Bulldogs combined for one tackle for loss and one forced fumble in the win.
For the game, Bowie State recorded a whopping 11 tackles for loss and four sacks.
“The guys showed resilience and fought until the end. The coaching staff did a great job preparing the guys for this moment,” said Jackson.
The Bulldogs travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan to take on Davenport University on Saturday, Sept. 9 at noon.
The Bison Lose to Eastern Michigan University
In the Bison loss, special teams play put the team in a deep hole as they gave up a punt and kickoff return for scores to go along with a bad snap that resulted in a safety. The Howard gaffes helped EMU take what appeared to be a comfortable 30-9 lead to the locker room.
“Giving up a safety and those returns for touchdowns really hurt the overall chance for a victory,” said Howard Head Coach Larry Scott, alluding to the 16 points off Bison miscues.
The Bison were playing an EMU team that was coming off a 9-4 season, a bowl appearance and a favorite as one of the Top teams in the Mid-American Conference. So the odds were slim for a comeback.
But Howard, coming off its best season in 30 years, showed its mettle and dominated the hosts, controlling both lines of scrimmage. Using its vaunted running game that produced 204 yards, the Bison closed the gap to 30-23 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and had the Eagles sidelines and the 18,000 fans nervous.
“No real changes were made systematically,” explained Scott. “The kids were able to communicate at the half and recognized the mistakes that were made within. They continued to believe in the game plan and went out in the second half and responded.”
With momentum and possession of the ball, the Bison were in a position to drive for the tying score.
Then came a play that changed the outcome. Howard was called for a double penalty of intentional grounding and a personal foul. Instead of having possession in good field position, Howard faced a first and 35 deep in their own territory.
It proved to be too much to overcome and EMU kicked a field goal as they escaped with the win.
The running game featured a four-prong attack of graduate Ian Wheeler (Houston, Texas), seniors Kasey Hawthorne (Sebring, Florida) and Jarett Hunter (Mineral, Virginia) and second-year Bison Eden James (Port St. Lucie, Florida).
Freshman Jamarr Ebron, who graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School in D.C., made his debut with a 69-yard touchdown pass from graduate quarterback Quinton Williams. It was his first reception as a collegian and earned him MEAC Rookie of the Week honors.