Howard Edges Delaware State

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(Bison quarterback Brian Johnson racked up 247 yards of total offense).

For the 23rd ranked Delaware State Hornets, a win over Howard meant a share of the MEAC title with Hampton and a possible at-large berth in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision. 

It would have meant for the first time since 1991 the Hornets would have at least had a share of the MEAC title. That’s what it would have meant. Delaware State fell short in their championship run in a stunning upset at the hands of Howard 20-17 at Greene Stadium. The Hornets most likely will end their 2006 campaign at 8-3 and 6-2 in the MEAC. 

Meanwhile the Bison finish on a positive note winning four of its last five to finish 5-6 and 4-4 in the MEAC and possibly saving the job of head coach Rayford Petty who has been under fire all season. "It was a great feeling; we finally won on Senior Day," said Howard senior middle linebacker Timothy Lockett. "We were highly motivated for this game.  As seniors, we wanted to go out with something to build on for next year.  There are a lot of players returning next year, so it was important that we beat a quality football team like Delaware State."

It was an unusual afternoon of missed opportunities for the Hornets as they were in scoring position three times in the first half and once in the second, each ending on missed field goals. Josh Brite, who had been consistent all season, missed from 29, 42 and 33 yards. He did connect from 37 yards out with 7:15 left in the first half, giving the Hornets a 10-7 halftime lead.

The Hornets threatened to pull away at the start the second half. Following a Bison turnover, the Hornets went 80 yards in a little under two minutes as senior running back Emmanuel Marc (21 carries, 165 yards 1 TD) scored on a beautiful 29-yard touchdown as he eluded two would-be Howard tacklers and hurdled a third before scoring standing up, giving his team a 17-7 lead at the 9:58 mark.

But the Bison was not done as quarterback Brian Johnson put together a six-play 64-yard drive capped off by a 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Arlandus Hood out to pull the Bison to within 17-14.  The two teams exchanged  turnovers until the fourth quarter when, under the leadership of Johnson, the Bison went 86 yards on eight plays culminating with an 18-yard strike to wide receiver Larry Duncan that gave the Bison the 20-17 lead, which they would not relinquish.

"We wanted to test them with the run," explained Johnson, who rushed for 120 yards and passed for 127 and two TDs. 
"When they stepped up to stop us, we went to the pass. We were able to have the success we did because the line did an outstanding job of blocking up front."  Johnson was not sacked all day.

There was still plenty of time for the Hornets to get either a go-ahead TD or a game-tying field goal.  The Bison however, was not to be denied. Said Coach Petty: "The guys stepped up and it had nothing to do with coaching. It was all on the players. When one guy went down, everybody else stepped up."

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