HBCUsSports

Howard to Face Big Test in Homecoming Showdown

In case you haven’t noticed, the Howard University football team has extended its winning streak to two games and defeated nearby rival Morgan State University in its last game two weeks ago on Oct. 7.

The Bison came away with an impressive victory on a Friday night game televised on ESPNU.

Now, the team faces a huge test when it hosts Norfolk State on Saturday in William H. Greene Memorial Stadium on the university campus. The game will be broadcast live at 1 p.m. on the Howard University Football Network, www.hubison.com.

Howard (2-4, 1-0 in the MEAC), picked to finish last in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference [MEAC] pre-season poll, has parlayed the play of junior quarterback Quinton Williams along with some stingy defense during its current surge, providing that oddsmakers don’t always get it right.

Quinton, who hails from Wise High School in Prince George’s County, has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the conference, having thrown for over 1,100 yards and 10 TDs in the past four games including a school-record 97-yard toss in the win over Morgan State.

The defense, spearheaded by senior Aaron Walker who first gained notoriety during his prep days at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Northeast, has allowed only one field goal in the last six quarters of play. Both young men have previously been named MEAC Player of the Week.

However, the biggest boost during the two-game homestand has arguably come from the Bison’s 12th man – the student body – largely composed of a freshmen class touted as the largest in school history.

“The fan base has brought excitement and lots of energy to the game,” said Howard head coach Larry Scott, now in his second season. “It all starts with our pregame which includes engagement between the team and students. It then carries over to the game and it has been a great motivator to the team.”

But Scott admits that those factors aside, it’s going to require a herculean effort to handle the Spartans of Norfolk State – a preseason favorite, along with South Carolina State, predicted to win the title.

Norfolk State features a veteran team, with the MEAC Player of the Year in senior quarterback Juwan Carter. The Spartans (4-2, 0-0 in the MEAC) face Howard after an impressive 42-14 home victory over Virginia Lynchburg for their fourth straight win.

“They have an outstanding veteran quarterback and they are very seasoned with a number of six-year veterans,” Scott said. “The key is that we have to defend the home turf. This is a conference home game.”

No matter who emerges as the victor, the weekend showdown promises to be an electrifying game couched in a spine-tingling atmosphere. Norfolk State handles its business on the road as well as any school in the MEAC and they always show up in big numbers when they play Howard.

And oh, by the way, the marching bands say they’re primed to put on an exciting halftime show.

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