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

Hampton vs Howard in the Truth and Service Classic
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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.

How to watch the 2023 All-American Bowl: TV channel, live stream info, start time, rosters, and more

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The 2023 All-American Bowl takes place this Saturday, January 7 inside the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas as 100 of the nation’s top senior football players will go head-to-head in this highly anticipated all-star game.

Live coverage begins at 1:00 PM ET on NBC and Peacock. See below for additional information on how to watch the 2023 All-American Bowl.

RELATED: Finalists Named for 2023 All-American Bowl’s Player of the Year Award

The All-American Bowl made its debut in December 2000 at Highlander Stadium in Dallas, Texas and since then has become one of the most-watched high school sporting events in America. Notable alumni that have participated in the event include NFL Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (2011), Dallas Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliot (2013), Jacksonville Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence (2018), former Broncos QB Tim Tebow (2006), former Cleveland Browns OT Joe Thomas.

RELATED: 2023 All-American Bowl Rosters


How to watch the 2023 All-American Bowl:

RELATED: Finalists Named for 2023 All-American Bowl’s Player of the Year Award


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College Football Playoff Semifinals: Best Bets, Previews, and Predictions for TCU-Michigan and Ohio State-Georgia

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On December 31, Michigan will take on TCU in Phoenix while Ohio State will face reigning national champion Georgia in Atlanta in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The winners will play each other for the national title on January 9 in Los Angeles.

This marks the first season since the CFP’s inception that two Big Ten teams have earned a spot in the same year. It’s Michigan’s second appearance (2021) and Ohio State’s fifth (2014, ’16, ’19, ’20). Ohio State is the only Big Ten team with a CFP national title, which the Buckeyes won the first time the playoff was held after the 2014 season. This is TCU’s first appearance in the playoff and Georgia’s third (2017, ’21).

Below are previews and predictions for both semifinal games. Betting information is provided by BetMGM** and is current as of Dec. 31 at 9:55 a.m. ET. Click on the links provided for each game to see the most up-to-date lines and odds.

The team at NBC Sports EDGE has you covered for the entirety of bowl season, including the CFP semifinals and more, providing their favorite plays on everything from sides and totals to player props. Click here for insights, picks and reactions to all 42 bowl games across this holiday season, and see below for Saturday’s YouTube Q&A from the EDGE team answering all your betting questions. 

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 TCU (MICH -7.5, o/u 58)

Wolverines and Horned Frogs both seek first championship appearance

Vrbo Fiesta Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022 at 4:00pm ET on ESPN

State Farm Stadium (home of NFL’s Cardinals) in Phoenix, AZ

Best Bets: Michigan -7.5, Over 58

NBC Sports EDGE preview

Michigan (13-0) and TCU (12-1) will face off for the first time in college football history in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl. Michigan is making its second straight appearance in the CFP, and second straight as the No. 2 seed. Last season, Michigan took on Georgia in the semifinals and looked totally out of place as the Bulldogs won 34-11 in a dominant performance en route to their national title a couple weeks later.

This year’s Michigan team may have an easier road in the semifinals, taking on first-time playoff team TCU, whose 12-1 run this season under new head coach Sonny Dykes has been remarkable. TCU will look to be the first Big 12 team to make the national championship game in the playoff’s nine-year history. (Oklahoma is the only other Big 12 school to make the CFP; the Sooners lost in the semifinals all four times they appeared.)

We last saw Michigan and TCU in their conference championship games. Michigan was in a tight game through the first half against Purdue for the Big Ten title, but pulled away from the Boilermakers in the second half to win 43-22. TCU, meanwhile, suffered its first loss of the season in the Big 12 Championship, falling in overtime to Kansas State.

The latest data has TCU slightly worse than Kansas State, and there are understandable questions about TCU’s ability to keep up with Michigan. Dykes doesn’t have those questions. Immediately after the CFP selection announcement on December 4, he told ESPN, “We have a ton of confidence that we can compete.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh feels that way too. “I couldn’t be more impressed with them,” he said of the Horned Frogs on December 4. He’s had particular praise for TCU senior quarterback Max Duggan, one of the four Heisman finalists this season. Speaking to ESPN, Harbaugh said Duggan was “unbelievable” in the championship game against Kansas State. “Guy’s a stud.”

Duggan has led TCU to the sixth-best scoring offense in the nation this season, averaging 40.3 points per game. He’s earned a reputation as a fierce competitor, often seeming to will his team to victory during the undefeated regular season.

Max Duggan runs the ball against Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship game. (Tim Heitman / Getty)

“We gotta make sure we play our game,” Duggan said earlier this month of TCU’s approach to the Fiesta Bowl. “Don’t make it bigger than we need to, don’t make the lights brighter than they need to be, just be ourselves and be confident.”

He’s had help this season in the form of junior running back Kendre Miller, whose 17 rush TDs make him the seventh-highest rushing scorer in the country.

But the Horned Frogs haven’t faced a team like Michigan yet, certainly not one with this kind of defensive strength: the Wolverines are third in the nation in total defense (277.1 yards/game), third in the nation in rush defense (85.2 yards/game), and fifth in the nation in scoring defense (13.38 points/game). In games when the Michigan offense has struggled (see Illinois in Week 12), the defense has kept the team in the game.

Michigan’s offense has changed shape a bit in recent weeks, after star running back Blake Corum suffered a knee injury against Illinois and underwent season-ending surgery. Even without Week 13 and the Big Ten Championship to bolster his resume, Corum sits ninth in the nation in rush yards (1,463) and fourth in rush TDs (18).

RELATED: Michigan and Ohio State 60 minutes from a rematch (NBC Sports EDGE)

In Corum’s absence, the Wolverines have leaned on sophomore Donovan Edwards in the run game and given a little more work to sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy in the pass game. Edwards has proven a worthy replacement, rushing for two long TDs against Ohio State and earning another 185 yards and a touchdown against Purdue. McCarthy has similarly stepped up, throwing for three TDs in each of the last two games, with four of those in excess of 25 yards. Before Week 13, McCarthy only had one three-TD game this season, in early October at Indiana.

McCarthy’s performance has turned heads as he’s gotten more comfortable running the Michigan offense. “I haven’t seen him get nervous,” Harbaugh said in early December. “Have never seen this kid rattled.”

J.J. McCarthy and Donovan Edwards embrace during a game in September. (Nic Antaya / Getty)

The defensive side of the ball might be the brighter spot for the Wolverines, but the offense holds its own: At 40.1 points per game, Michigan sits seventh in the nation in scoring offense (recall that TCU is sixth with 40.3 points/game). Michigan’s discipline has made an impact, too, as the team averages 33 minutes of possession and just over four penalties per game.

Asked if this year’s playoff is about redemption, Harbaugh answered with a definitive no. “It’s been nothing but a happy mission…not an angry mission.”

Michigan vs. TCU Matchup History

While TCU and Michigan have never faced each other, there is some data about their success against the other’s conference. TCU has a long history of games against Big Ten teams, dating back to 1937. Since 2000, TCU is 7-2 against Big Ten teams, most recently beating Purdue in September 2019.

Michigan has faced Big 12 teams just six times, losing the last three of those in Bowl games in the 2013, 2005, and 2004 seasons. Its last win over a Big 12 team came in 1997 over Baylor.

Prediction: Michigan has been a second-half team all season, so it would be unsurprising for this game to be close at the beginning or even for TCU to take a lead. But if they come prepared, the Wolverines’ talent should ultimately overpower the Horned Frogs in Phoenix. Michigan should cover, and the Over is likely in play if the Wolverines can break things open offensively.

RELATED: NBC Sports EDGE NCAA Bowl Staff Picks & Plays: Dec. 30-Jan. 2

No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Ohio State (UGA -6, o/u 62.5)

Dawgs face tough test as they look for repeat

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl

Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022 at 8:00pm ET on ESPN

Mercedes-Benz Stadium (home of NFL’s Falcons) in Atlanta, GA

 Best Bets: Georgia -6, Under 62.5

NBC Sports EDGE preview

Georgia (13-0) and Ohio State (11-1) promises to be an excellent matchup between two teams with comparable stats but differing styles on the field. Georgia is the reigning national champion in its third playoff appearance (2017, ’21), while Ohio State makes its fifth playoff appearance (2014, ’16, ’19, ’20). The Buckeyes won their only national title the first time the playoff was held after the 2014 season.

Ohio State is the only team in the 2022 playoff that didn’t play in its conference championship game; the team got in after USC lost the Pac-12 title game to Utah earlier this month. Georgia is coming off a 50-30 win over LSU in the SEC Championship game to complete its undefeated season.

The Buckeyes missed the Big Ten title game after losing to Michigan Week 13. Ohio State had been favored to win at home, but Michigan kept things close throughout the first half, and the floodgates opened in the second as the Wolverines overwhelmed the Buckeyes on both sides of the ball to win 45-23. After USC lost the Pac-12 championship game, Ohio State waited for the selection committee’s decision as the Buckeyes, Trojans and perennial playoff team Alabama were all in the conversation. Ultimately the conventional playoff wisdom that two losses is too many won out, and the Buckeyes were in.

“It’s like a second lease on life,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day told ESPN on selection day. “We’re back in control of our own destiny.”

Both Georgia and Ohio State have 2022 Heisman finalists at the helm, with Stetson Bennett leading the Bulldogs and C.J. Stroud in the pocket for Ohio State.

From left to right: Stetson Bennett (UGA), Max Duggan (TCU), C.J. Stroud (OSU), and Caleb Williams (USC) pose with the Heisman Trophy. Williams won the award. (Sarah Stier / Getty)

Stroud is the most efficient passer in the nation in 2022 and also tops the national list for most pass touchdowns with 37. That strength in the passing game has made Ohio State the second-highest scoring offense in the country with an average 44.5 points per game.

In this semifinal, though, each team has an answer for the other’s strengths: opposite OSU’s offense, Georgia ranks second in scoring defense, allowing just 12.77 points per game on average.

Defense is UGA coach Kirby Smart’s calling card, and the performance by the 2022 Bulldogs is all the more impressive considering eight defensive players went to the NFL after the 2021 season (five of them in the first round). That loss of talent brought up questions about Georgia’s ability to deliver at the same level this year, but they’ve come pretty close. (For reference, after all 15 games last season, the Georgia defense finished at 10.8 points allowed per game.)

Smart was unhappy with his defensive side after the SEC Championship game, when LSU scored 30, the most points the Dawgs allowed all season. “We can’t play the kind of defense we played last night and expect to be any kind of champions,” he told ESPN on December 4. “We’ve got some work to do.”

Two keys to the game for Ohio State will be third-down conversions and red zone production. The Georgia defense is third in the nation on third down, allowing conversion just 26.7% of the time, and first in the nation in the red zone, allowing just nine touchdowns on 28 red zone trips by opponents.

The answer to that one: Ohio State is the third-most productive offense in the red zone this season with 44 touchdowns on 55 trips.

When UGA faced Tennessee (a team with an offensive scheme comparable to OSU’s) in November, the Dawgs held the Vols to just two third-down conversions on 14 attempts. They also prevented Tennessee from relying on the deep balls that were central to their offense, holding QB Hendon Hooker to 5.9 yards per completion.

Ohio State has a similar reliance on deep balls in the pass game; Stroud sits fifth in FBS in yards per completion at 14.21, with his top target Marvin Harrison Jr. tied for fourth in receiving TDs with 12 this season. The Buckeyes should have success in Atlanta if they can beat the UGA secondary; if anyone has the receiving core to do it, they do.

Stroud has noted the formidable nature of the Georgia defense. What do they do well? “Everything,” Stroud said, adding that it all starts with junior defensive lineman Jalen Carter. “I think they call him Superman,” Stroud said in an ESPN interview published Tuesday. “He plays like it.”

Jalen Carter holds LSU QB Jayden Daniels in the air on a sack during the SEC Championship game. (Jeffrey Vest / Getty)

While the Georgia defense has earned consistent national praise, the team’s offense has quietly had a great season too. Bennett is an exceptionally efficient passer in big games in particular; in games against AP top 25 teams this season, his passer rating is 185.2, the best in FBS. Georgia has the most productive red zone offense in the country, only failing to earn points twice on 71 trips.

Ohio State’s total offense is sixth-best and Georgia’s is seventh; the team’s average totals are less than a yard apart. Georgia’s total defense is eighth in the country and Ohio State’s is 12th, about 12 yards apart. Both teams protect their quarterbacks: UGA has allowed just seven sacks this season (T-second in FBS) and OSU has allowed eight (fifth). Both teams won all but one game this season by 10 or more points (OSU lost to Michigan, UGA beat Missouri by four).

All that to say: this should be a really good game. Georgia gets a bit of an advantage with the Peach Bowl near home in Atlanta, in a stadium where the Dawgs have already played twice this season. Ohio State could reap the benefits of extra rest and preparation in the absence of a conference championship game.

“We’ve got a two-game season ahead of us,” Ryan Day said. Well, maybe.

Georgia vs. Ohio State Matchup History

Surprisingly, Georgia and Ohio State have faced each other only once: the 1993 Citrus Bowl in January 1993, almost exactly 30 years ago. Georgia won 21-14, led by running back Garrison Hearst, over an Ohio State side quarterbacked by one Kirk Herbstreit. Herbstreit will call this one for ESPN.

Prediction: Georgia’s game plan is probably similar to its plan against Tennessee, which worked well. Ohio State’s talent on offense should be able to score, but at a slower clip than usual against the Dawgs’ defense. In the end, it feels smarter to bet on the best defense over the best offense, and the game location could help create extra noise for the Georgia defense. It’s close, but the Dawgs take this one by a touchdown with the Under in play.

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