Hampton vs Howard Recap: Hampton wins fifth straight over Howard in Truth and Service Classic

Hampton vs Howard in the Truth and Service Classic
Getty Images
0 Comments

Saturday afternoon’s matchup between the Howard Bison and Hampton Pirates had all the ingredients needed to make an instant Historically Black College and University classic, football, fans, and of course, the bands!

While Hampton vs Howard is usually referred to as “The Battle of The Real HU,” this time around, the game was titled “The Truth and Service Classic.” A new inaugural beginning for a matchup that dates as far back as 1908.

This game marked the 96th meeting between Howard and Hampton. Coming into Saturday Hampton had the winning advantage with an overall record of 53 wins, 41 losses, and 1 tie.

While the game concluded in a Hampton victory over Howard with a score of 48-32, this latest installment of their storied rivalry came chock-full of history-making details. The first historical happening actually came before any whistles had been blown. This was the first time a college football game would be played at Audi Field, home of Major League Soccer’s D.C. United, located in Washington, D.C.

The next moment came to the surprise of more than 14,000 fans that filled up Audi Field.

Vice President Kamala Harris, a Howard alumna, trotted onto the field to take part in the coin toss. The stadium erupted as Harris was escorted on and off the field by Secret Service, as well as by plenty of students all vying for a photo-op with the VP.

Hampton head coach Robert Prunty was touched to witness this special moment in history, alongside his players.

“Anytime in my life that I get to see a Black woman as Vice President, take the same field as me, to be in her presence, to overcome all the different things that any woman has faced, I thought that set the tone for everything,” Prunty said. “It’s always great to see Hampton and Howard get together, everyone’s hollering who is the real HU, but today I thought about my mother when I saw Kamala Harris.”

RELATED: Hampton vs Howard 2021: Looking back at the legacy of a historic HBCU rivalry

Hampton vs Howard Game Recap

1st Quarter

Howard had won the toss and deferred to Hampton. Hampton elected to receive the ball first and quickly got to work. Hampton’s run game set the tone early on by ripping off an 11-play, 65-yard drive that saw the Pirates take an early lead thanks to an 8-yard red zone rush by Keyondre White with over 10:00 minutes left in the first quarter.

Hampton’s backfield boasts an imposing 1-2-3 punch of running backs, with redshirt sophomores Darran Butts, Keyondre White, and new freshman phenom Elijah Burris, who has impressed early this season.

Burris was named Big South Freshman of The Week after a three-touchdown, 136-yard performance in Hampton’s season-opening win over D-II rival Virginia Union. Butts also had himself a field day in that game recording 143 yards on 11 carries.

Hampton’s defensive line held strong early in the first quarter, forcing the Bison into three consecutive 3-and-out drives. Only towards the end of the first did the Bison finally find their footing on offense.

With under 2:00 minutes left in the first, The Pirates missed a 32-yard field goal attempt on 4th down, giving the Bison some much-needed momentum to build on. Howard QB Quinton Williams then decided to stretch the field, quickly finding success through the air.

A 3-play, 80-yard drive capped with a 28-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Antoine Murray, saw the Bison tie up the score 7-7 with 8 seconds left on the clock.

In preparation for this game, Bison QB Williams mentioned that in order to find success against the Pirates, they would need to look to widen the defense as much as possible.

“Coming into the game, we knew we just had to start fast and really be physical upfront,” said Williams. “Just taking advantage of our matchups on the perimeter was a big focus this week.”

The first quarter had ended with a 7-7 tie as each team seemed to be settling into their game plans.

If the first quarter was a chess match, the second unfolded into more of a boxing match with each team going blow for blow on big plays. While Hampton was content to use its run game to chew up the clock and time of possession, it seemed that Howard had identified some weak points in the Pirates coverage and began to exploit those areas with each ensuing drive.

2nd Quarter

At the top of the second quarter, after the Bison defense pinned the Pirates into a 4th and inches situation, a false start by the Pirates offense seemed to galvanize the Bison even more as Hampton was forced to punt the ball.

After consecutive punts by both teams to start the second, Hampton QB Jett Duffey took matters into his own hands. On the first play of that drive, Duffey kept the ball on a quarterback keeper but found no gain. On the very next play, Duffey connected with junior wideout Jadakis Bonds for a 33-yard touchdown pass to see the Pirates go up 14-7.

Duffey had dropped back and noticed a wide-open Bonds streaking towards the post, hitting him in stride for the quick easy score.

But the back and forth continued: just as Hampton had found a score, the Bison were quick to answer back.

On Howard’s next drive, they continued to attack the sidelines, after not finding much success through the run. Sticking to the passing game, Williams found tight end Thomas Vi on a 16-yard dart that resulted in a touchdown. Another 8-play, 75-yard drive for the Bison had tied the game yet again at 14 all.

Mental mistakes and lapses of concentration on both sides of the ball allowed each team’s offense to capitalize on the other’s defense. By the end of the second quarter, the score was 21-17 in Hampton’s favor.

Hampton vs Howard Halftime

At HBCUs, the marching band is known as the “Heroes of Halftime.” The performances put on display at each HBCU football game are the perfect embodiment of all the soul, spirit, and passion that makes HBCU culture so infectious.

In fact, some students choose which HBCU to attend solely based on the strength of that particular school’s marching band.

To no one’s surprise at all, the Battle of the Bands between Howard’s “Showtime” marching band and Hampton’s “Marching Force” did not disappoint.

The Hampton University Marching Force is recognized around the world. With memorable performances in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and in the New Year’s Day Parade In Rome, Italy.

Aside from the many instruments among The Marching Force, the collective consists of subsections like the S.I.L.K.Y. Flag Line, the Ebony Fire Dance Team, and the S.T.I.C.K.Y. Situation Drumline.

3rd Quarter

Hampton’s coach Prunty must have given his defense quite the speech during halftime because the Pirates came out swinging. Capitalizing on three turnovers made by the Bison offense, the Pirates found themselves up by 3 touchdowns by end of the quarter.

Hampton’s second touchdown of that quarter was one for the history books.

Duffey lasered a pass to senior wideout Hezekiah Grimsley who made a hard cut on a post route, caught the ball in stride, and turned on the afterburners for a 95-yard score without being touched. That play made for the longest touchdown catch in Big South history.

The theme of Hampton’s dominant defense continued for the rest of the third quarter, as well as a continued showing by Hampton’s powerful running backs.

Butts ripped off a 43-yard tumbling run where he started up the gut and bounced out left streaking down the sideline in what seemed like the final nail in the coffin as Hampton went up 42-17.

Darran Butts knew coming into this second half that if Hampton stuck to the success they had earlier in the game by sticking to the run, that it would wear down the Bison defense.

“I was confident,” Butts said after the game. “I feel like we have the best offensive line and they created the space for me to show what I can do, we had a great week of practice so I knew that would translate on the field.”

After watching Hampton capitalize for 2 big scores on each of the Bison’s fumbles in this quarter, quarterback Williams rolled the dice through the air desperately trying to turn the game around for Howard.

At halftime, however, the Pirates defensive coaches identified some weaknesses in Williams’s play and had a plan in place to capitalize.

Keeping in mind his coach’s instructions, Hampton linebacker DeAndre Faulk made a crucial interception that took the wind right out of the Bison’s sails.

“I was just reading my keys, my coach kept expressing the concept of routes and it came back to me on that particular play,” said Faulk. “I noticed that the QB tended to stare down his receivers and that took me right to the interception.”

4th Quarter

With a 42-17 Pirate lead heading into the final quarter, some demoralized Bison fans had started to head towards the exit. However, Bison head coach Larry Scott wasn’t ready to throw in the towel.

Scott kept his team focused and his players responded in kind showing grit. Before long, Howard had managed to score twice more in the fourth but simply had too much to overcome.

Williams connected with wideout Kasey Hawthorne on a 22-yard dart at the top of the fourth quarter with 10:36 left in the fourth.

Howard finally scored their first rushing touchdown of the game as sophomore running back Jarett Hunter found pay dirt after an 8-yard rush.

“Our guys were right there in it,” Scott said. “Time ran out on us and we had too many self-inflicted wounds.”

Despite Howard’s last-minute push deep in the 4th quarter, Hampton killed off the game with Burris’ second rushing touchdown of the afternoon. An 8-yard punch for a score that came with 2:00 left in the 4th quarter.

“I have so much faith in my offensive line,” said Burris. “They keep me calm, cool, and collected and ready to get the job done each week.”

In the end, both teams left it all on the field in the first inaugural “Truth and Service Classic.” Bison QB Williams had himself a personal best day through the air as Howard ended with 357 passing yards and 23 rushes for 73 yards on the ground.

The Pirates accomplished their game plan of bruising runs gaining 253 rushing yards on 50 attempts, and accumulating another 300 passing yards to balance the offensive output.

While the game ended 48-32 in Hampton’s favor, the battle for “The Real HU” will never be settled. For HBCU alum, these matchups aren’t just petty rivalries, but a homecoming of old friends and respected colleagues.

Games like this turn into a massive networking mixer for all generations of the HBCU family to update friends on accomplishments, and a place to reminisce on the fun times shared between rivals.

As media personality Roland Martin, who attended Saturday’s game, put it: “For African Americans, HBCU games are a culture, it’s not just about what happens on the field.”

Howard now 0-3, will head into this next week licking their wounds as they prepare to face Robert Morris next Saturday, September 25th.

Hampton will enjoy this upcoming bye week as they will look to improve on their 2-1 record when taking on Norfolk State University on October 2, in another hotly contested HBCU matchup known as “The Battle of the Bay.”

Jonathan C. Scott is a graduating senior at Hampton University, majoring in Journalism with a minor in Cinema Studies from Brooklyn, NY. Jonathan served 4 years in the US Navy prior to attending Hampton and has since found a passion for journalism and sports writing taking him through internships at ESPN’s The Undefeated and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. You can follow Jonathan on Instagram and Twitter @MediaJonny.

Big Ten Week 5: Previews and Predictions for Michigan, Minnesota, and More

0 Comments

While No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Michigan remain the top teams in the Big Ten conference, Minnesota was the team that made the biggest impact in Week 4, putting on a dominant display on the road at Michigan State to win 34-7. The Golden Gophers entered the AP Top 25 for the first time this season on the heels of that win; they’ll host Purdue this weekend as No. 21, the only ranked team in the Big Ten West.

That game is among the best in the conference in Week 5, which will also see Michigan face a tough test on the road and a contest between Michigan State and Maryland, both of whom are coming off Week 4 losses.

 

Iowa hopes to upset No. 4 Michigan with daunting defense

The Big Ten game of the week is in Iowa City, as the No. 4 Michigan Wolverines travel to face the top defense in the country (by points allowed – 5.75/game) in a rematch of the 2021 Big Ten Championship game, when Iowa took a 42-3 defeat at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Michigan faced its first conference opponent of 2022 last weekend, when Maryland visited Ann Arbor and made the Big House nervous with a much closer game than expected (Michigan took the 34-27 win). The Terps hung with the Wolverines all four quarters as Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy had a sloppier game than he can afford against the Iowa Hawkeyes.

McCarthy, a sophomore, went 18/26 in a 220-yard, 2-touchdown effort, tallying two fumbles. “That’s two plays I really want back,” he said after the game on Saturday, adding: “I take full responsibility for the throws I missed.”

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh knows he’ll need more accuracy against Iowa, who’s coming off a 27-10 win at Rutgers that included two defensive touchdowns. “If you’re not as sound as you can possibly be, you’re in for a rough one,” Harbaugh said Monday.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz echoed that sentiment for his squad: “It’s going to take our best team effort to have a chance in this ball game,” he said on Tuesday. Ferentz said he’s not considering this a revenge spot for the last time they faced Michigan, “but [that game] is a reminder…If you aren’t on top of things and you give up a couple big plays, all of a sudden the hill gets pretty steep.”

Expect this to be a close game, especially if Iowa limits Michigan RB Blake Corum, who went for 2 TDs and 243 yards against Maryland last week. If Iowa’s offense was less inept, predicting the Hawkeyes to win this one outright wouldn’t be that farfetched. The story of the game will likely be in Michigan’s turnover numbers – if the Wolverines can take care of the ball, they should be positioned to pull this one out even in a tight contest.

 

No. 21 Minnesota (4-0) looks to keep momentum against unpredictable Purdue (2-2)

Entering Week 4, it seemed like Minnesota was in for a close game in East Lansing at Michigan State, but the Gophers shut down the Spartans almost immediately and didn’t let them up for air (Michigan State’s only score in the 34-7 loss came with 17 seconds left). Minnesota QB Tanner Morgan went 23/26 in a game where he needed to find new targets with top receiver Chris Autman-Bell out (Autman-Bell had season-ending surgery leg surgery earlier this month).. Morgan found help all over the field – four receivers had at least 3 touches and 40+ yards, while running back Mo Ibrahim added 103 and a touchdown on the ground. Ibrahim enters Week 5 second in FBS rushing yards with 567 on the season.

“They make you bleed,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said on Monday. “And if you don’t find a way to bandage it up or do something to strike back, it can be a long death.”

Minnesota should have an easy time against Purdue on Saturday. But the Boilermakers have a reputation as an upset team – remember when they put 49 points on third-ranked Ohio State in 2018? Or last year, when they upset No. 2 Iowa in October and No. 3 Michigan State in November?

“The key is: can we find a way to get a lead and take them out of what they really want to do?” Brohm said.

Purdue is coming off two close games: a 32-29 loss at Syracuse in Week 3 and a 28-26 win against Florida Atlantic in Week 4. The Boilermakers had a close match in Week 1 as well, losing 35-31 to the now-11th-ranked Nittany Lions of Penn State.

The health of QB Aidan O’Connell – who the team says will be a game-time decision – is likely to be a big factor for Purdue; O’Connell was injured during the game in Week 3 and missed Week 4. He played remarkably through three weeks with 1,000 yards and only one interception, bolstering Purdue to the second-best pass offense in the conference behind Ohio State. Austin Butler played in O’Connell’s place last week and is expected to start at Minnesota if O’Connell can’t.

The Gophers have all the momentum, but know they have to stay focused for a win this week, which is Homecoming at Minnesota. “I always get a little worried when I see strength and twitch together,” Gophers offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca said of the Purdue front. On the passing game, he said, “Their corners are big and physical… They don’t give you any free throws.”

All signs point to a win for Minnesota at home this week, if the team keeps playing efficiently and outruns the curse of the Purdue upset.

 

Other Games to Watch in Week 5: Ohio State and Penn State at home, Michigan State hoping to turn things around

No. 3 Ohio State and No. 11 Penn State both host conference opponents at home this week. Ohio State (4-0) had an impressive showing against Wisconsin last week, winning 52-21 – and the game wasn’t as close as that score makes it seem. C.J. Stroud added 281 yards and 5 TDs to his case for the Heisman Trophy in an offensive effort that head coach Ryan Day said was “what we’re looking for.”

Rutgers (3-1) struggled against Iowa last week and is unlikely to hold off Stroud and the Buckeyes offense. Ohio State, which has yet to go on the road this season, should take this one by four or more touchdowns.

Penn State (4-0) faces a Northwestern (1-3) side that lost by three thanks to a late field goal by Miami-Ohio last week. The Wildcats have lost three straight since their win over Nebraska in Week 1, and that streak is expected to extend to four losses when they travel to State College on Saturday. The only danger for the Nittany Lions is a loss of focus in the look-ahead as they prepare to go to Ann Arbor to face Michigan in Week 6.

Finally, the Michigan State Spartans (2-2) will try to stave off a 3-game losing streak when they go on the road to Maryland (3-1) this weekend. Michigan State has been trounced two weeks in a row, first at Washington, then at home against Minnesota. Both games were expected to be close before they started.

Spartans coach Mel Tucker started his presser on Monday with a laundry list of things he sees as necessary improvements for his team, from basics like tackling and scoring points to other issues like pre-snap alignments and zone coverage.

“Optimistic and determined is how I feel at the moment,” Tucker said heading into Week 5.

Maryland, meanwhile, was impressive last week in a close game at Michigan and should have some confidence coming off that performance, but they’re not taking the coming matchup for granted.

“When you look at their record it’s easy to say they’re struggling,” Terps coach Mike Locksley said of Michigan State, “But when you watch the tape… They’ve [lost to] two really formidable opponents.”

“We expect them to come in here to try to get back on track,” he added, “and we’ve got to do everything we can… to not let that happen.”

Is Michigan State down and out or ready to take out some frustration on the Terps this week? Maryland enters the weekend favored, suggesting it’s the former. But look for the halftime score to tell the story here: if the Spartans can keep it close in the first half, they’ve got a good chance to pull this one out. It’ll probably be a big loss if it gets away from them early.

Big Ten Football Week 4 Storylines: Ohio State, Michigan among teams facing first conference opponents

0 Comments

In two weeks, the Big Ten has gone from having five ranked teams to three: Wisconsin fell out of the rankings after Week 2 and this week, Michigan State was dropped after a poor showing at Washington (39-28 final).

The three teams that remain in the top 25, though – (3) Ohio State, (4) Michigan, and (14) Penn State – looked great in Week 3 matchups that included Michigan’s 59-0 shutout against UConn and an impressive 41-12 win for Penn State on the road at Auburn.

Fortunately for Michigan State, their loss to a possibly-better-than-we-thought Washington team wasn’t the worst showing in the conference last Saturday; that accolade goes to Nebraska, whose loss to No. 6 Oklahoma wasn’t as close as the 49-14 score makes it sound.

Week 4 features eight Big Ten teams in their first conference matchups of the season, including Michigan and Ohio State, both playing at home.

 

Maryland’s trip to the Big House should be telling for No. 4 Michigan

The Michigan Wolverines (3-0) have won their first three games by a combined score of 166-17, and yet, it’s not clear how good the team is. Its all-home schedule against Colorado State, Hawaii, and UConn hasn’t put Michigan to the test so far – they’re blowing out teams that they should be blowing out, which doesn’t tell us much.

That isn’t to say Michigan is likely to lose to Maryland (3-0) on Saturday; Michigan is better on paper across the board and it’s unlikely they give this game away to the Terps, who are also undefeated (albeit less convincingly) through three non-conference games. But a team worthy of the No. 4 ranking will make a win look easy and shut down the Maryland offense (Michigan is allowing a third-best 194 yards per game), and a team not worthy of that ranking… won’t.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t give away much when asked about how Michigan has prepared for their first conference test, remarking only on the great work ethic and leadership he’s seen from his players. But he did note that they have their guard up after winning the conference last season: “There’s a big target [on our backs]. Whenever you’re a defending champion, it’s gonna be there.”

Maryland coach Mike Locksley put the Terrapins’ mental approach simply on Tuesday when he said, “We have nothing to lose.” He noted that Michigan has been more disciplined than his team through three games, citing penalty numbers: Michigan is third-best in the FBS in penalty yards given away this season (65); Maryland is third-worst (271). “We always talk about trying to close the gap on teams like that,” Locksley told reporters on Tuesday. “This affords us an opportunity to see how and where we fit.”

“[We’ll] try to play to the best of our ability and keep the game really tight and get it to the fourth quarter. And you never know what can happen.”

 

No. 3 Ohio State puts offense to first big test against Wisconsin

Third-ranked Ohio State (3-0) faces its first conference test in hosting Wisconsin (2-1), which was ranked 19th before losing in a Week 2 upset to Washington State. Ohio State opened with a big win at home against Notre Dame, a win that lost some of its luster after Notre Dame lost to Marshall in Week 2.

That said, the Buckeyes are the best offensive team in the nation through three weeks with an average 565.3 yards per game, and Wisconsin is expected to be the best defense the team has faced so far. After OSU put 77 points on Toledo in Week 3, offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said, “As good as the offense might look, the offense is not good until the end of the year and you can see how tough and how consistent it is.”

“Wisconsin epitomizes Big Ten football,” OSU coach Ryan Day said on Thursday, noting the Badgers’ physical style of play and calling Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz and RB Braelon Allen “the best we’ve seen” at both positions.

The Badgers rebounded in Week 3 with a 66-7 win over New Mexico State, but that hasn’t changed their underdog status going into Saturday at The Shoe, where Wisconsin hasn’t won since 2004.

Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst complimented the formidable Buckeyes offense, calling C.J. Stroud “a heck of a quarterback” and remarking on the challenge his defense will face in OSU: “They do a great job of threatening and using the whole field.”

Ohio State will don blackout uniforms for the primetime matchup, which is the team’s fourth straight home game.

 

Michigan State looks for rebound against Minnesota team with momentum

Of all the Big Ten contests in Week 4, this one figures to be the most intriguing. Michigan State (2-1) is unranked for the first time this season after the Spartans struggled to compete at Washington last week, which could make the home game against Minnesota (3-0) a revenge game or a letdown spot.

Head coach Mel Tucker called the Washington result “very disappointing” after the Spartans’ secondary got chewed up by the Huskies, led by QB Michael Penix Jr. Tucker listed the major issues as poor communication and missed assignments rather than schematic problems, and said he took the failures personally: “I’m a horse—t football coach right now.”

“We’re going to be defined by how we respond,” Tucker said. “We have to raise our level of intensity in what we’re doing…You have to learn from adversity.”

Minnesota has earned three solid wins in non-conference play so far, showing balance with great numbers on both sides of the ball: the Golden Gophers are second in the FBS in offensive yards per game (554.7) and second in yards allowed per game (170.3).

“We know it’s going to be a hostile environment… They’re a dangerous football team,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said this week, specifically noting the strength of the Michigan State defensive front, which gave up only 30 rush yards to Washington last Saturday.

Minnesota will need some productivity on the ground, especially after wide receiver Chris Autman-Bell suffered a season-ending leg injury in Week 3 against Colorado, for which he underwent surgery on Wednesday. Autman-Bell was leading the Gophers with 11 receptions and 214 receiving yards.

The Gophers are averaging a second-in-FBS 312.7 rush yards per game so far, but the Spartans present the first big defensive challenge of their season.

As Michigan State adjusts its defensive approach and Minnesota tweaks its offense, this game is expected to be a close one: Minnesota is a slight road favorite entering the weekend.

 

Iowa heads to Rutgers for Defensive Clash

The Iowa Hawkeyes (2-1) and Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-0) face off Saturday night with Rutgers at home, looking to start the season 4-0 for the first time in a decade (2012).

It won’t be an easy path for the Scarlet Knights, whose quarterback situation leaves plenty to be desired – Evan Simon and Gavin Wimsatt combined for 59 pass yards against Temple in Week 3 – and who likely won’t catch a break against an Iowa defense that’s allowed 13 points across three games this season.

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano said there are “several” offensive things he wants to fix, and also said injured QB Noah Vedral’s status will be a game-time decision on Saturday. The recent passing numbers for the team make a Vedral return all the more appealing to the Rutgers faithful.

Opposite Iowa’s renowned defense, Rutgers boasts strong defensive stats as well – the team is second in FBS in rush yards allowed (less than 33 per game) and Iowa has scored three of its lowly four touchdowns this season on the ground.

Iowa is coming off an easy but long 27-0 win over Nevada in Week 3: with nearly four hours of weather delays, the game lasted almost seven hours.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz acknowledged the parallels between his team and Schiano’s, noting the defense but also the strong punters both teams will bring to the game.

“They don’t do dumb things,” Ferentz said of the Knights. “They make you earn anything you get.”