The Howard University Bison (0-2) and Hampton Pirates (1-1) will face off in the first-ever Truth & Service Classic at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, September 18th at 12 pm ET on NBCSN. This historic meeting will mark the 96th meeting between these two teams, who make up one of the oldest HBCU rivalries.
The Pirates lead the series 53-41-1 and look to continue their four-game win streak against the Bison dating back to 2015. Howard has not won this matchup since a 30-29 win in 2014 and as the home team for the game played at Audi Field, home of the MLS team D.C. United, the Bison look to win their first game of this season.
The Bison, led by first-year head coach Larry Scott, are a very young team, and this matchup against a long-time opponent could set the pace for what this team could accomplish in the future.
So, don’t sleep on the Bison.
Who are the players to look out for from Howard?
Quinton Williams, Junior, QB
In Howard’s first game of the 2021 season, Williams went 17 for 27 for 226 yards and a touchdown in the loss against the University of Richmond. Although he followed that up with only 67 passing yards in a loss against the University of Maryland in Week 2, Williams is proving that he can lead this team. In a strong 2019 season, Williams garnered 936 passing yards and 8 touchdowns, showing what he’s capable of when hot and proving he can make those exciting plays to get the offense going.
Jarett Hunter, Sophomore, RB
Hunter carried the ball 12 times for 93 yards against the University of Richmond in Game 1, averaging 7.8 yards per carry as the leading rusher for the team. Getting him going on offense will be key in accelerating the running game and setting the tone early on.
Rodney Dennard, Senior, DB
DB Rodney Dennard combined with DBs Kenny Gallop and Aaron Walker (All-conference team 2020 honoree) for a total of 22 tackles in the Howard vs UMD matchup. Dennard was also named to the Preseason All-MEAC Team, as he combined for 101 tackles with DB Ray Williams (Preseason All-Conference team 2020 honoree) in 2019.
*Predicted Breakout Player: Darrian Brokenburr, Junior, DL
Coming off a strong 2019 season, where he tallied 31 tackles and led the Bison with 3.5 sacks, Brokenburr was named to the Phil Steele Preseason All-Conference team (Second team) in 2020.
What about Hampton?
Coming into this matchup, Hampton has defeated Howard in the annual matchup in their last four meetings dating back to 2015 with Hampton leading the overall series 53-41-1. The Pirates currently have a record of 1-1 in the Big South Conference after winning their season opener against Virginia Union (42-28) but losing in Week 2 (47-7) to Old Dominion.
The Pirates are incredibly dynamic on offense when sharp and have the potential to continue their dominance over the Bison by starting the offensive attack early and exploiting weaknesses in the Bison defense.
Who are the players to look out for from Hampton?
Jett Duffey, Graduate Transfer, QB
Quarterback Jett Duffey, a transfer from Texas Tech, was 24 for 35 and threw for 242 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INT in the win against Virginia Union in the season opener. Against Old Dominion, he was 7 of 16 for 83 yards with only one touchdown. Duffey’s star power was shown in the matchup against VUU where the Pirates’ combined 611 total yards on offense (242 in the air) and brutally defeated the Panthers 42-28. Expect the high-powered Hampton, led by Duffey, to provide a major challenge for the Howard defense.
Jadakis Bonds, Junior, WR
In the most recent Pirate loss against Old Dominion, WR Jadakis Bonds was held to 5 catches, for 86 yards. However, with 7 catches for 160 yards and 3 touchdowns in just 10 games, Bonds put on a performance during his freshman year in 2018. Now in his junior season, his standout role in the Hampton offense earned him a spot on the 2021 preseason All-Big South First Team. Bonds and Duffey connecting early in the matchup will be key in dominating early on offense.
Elijah Burris, Freshman, RB
Burris was named the Big South Co-freshman of the Week, after attaining 194 all-purpose yards and 3 touchdowns on 15 carries in the win against VUU. He also recorded a 51-yard kickoff return and had a fourth quarter 30 -yard touchdown run to seal the Pirate victory. After that win, Burris was also named Stats Perform National FCS freshman of the week.
*Predicted Breakout Player: Caleb Brown, Senior, DB
Brown was named the Big South defensive player of the week after the Pirates win against Virginia Union. He recorded 3 tackles, 2 interceptions and became the first Pirate player to have a two-interception game since 2014. In his 2019 junior season, Brown also had 43 total tackles, one interception and five pass breakups.
Hampton vs Howard airs live at 12pm ET on NBCSN on Saturday, September 18th. All coverage also streams on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Chris Lewis will handle play-by-play, and will be joined by analyst Jay Walker – a former Howard University quarterback – and reporter Zora Stephenson.
*Author’s Note: Alex D. Williams is two-time published author and a senior at Howard University, from New Orleans, Louisiana. She studies Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Sports Administration. You can follow her on social media at @Alexdwilliams2_. You can also follow her sports podcast: A Girl & Her Grandpa: A Sports Podcast through the generations found on Apple, Spotify, and several other platforms.