Washington, DC—Greg McGhee accounted for all the Howard scoring, rushing for three touchdowns and passing for two more as the Bison defeated Morehouse, 35-17 in the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic at RFK Stadium before 13,178. The 6-3, 208-pound senior from Pittsburgh, Pa, rushed 98 yards, scoring on runs of 1-yard twice, and a 17-yard scamper late that all but put the game away. He also completed 16 of 30 for 149 yards and TD passes to Justin Chaney and Robert Mercer. For his efforts, he was named the game MVP for the third time in four years.
The Maroon Tigers (1-1) got on the board first when Monqavious Johnson capped off an eight-play, 65-yard drive on a 16-yard strike to Lake McGuffie with a little over five minutes off the clock in the first quarter. Morehouse failed on the PAT kick, but led 6-0.
Johnson, a sophomore who accounted for 338 of his team’s 392 yards, was a thorn in the side of the Bison’s defense all day.
Morehouse’s score apparently woke up Howard (1-2) and their leader, McGhee began to take over the game. The four-year starter, took advantage of a short field and used five plays to get the Bison on board, scoring on a one-yard quarterback sneak to give his team the lead for good at 7-6.
Then early in the second quarter, McGhee drove his team 74 yards in eight plays, using short passes to running back Aquanius Freeman to move the ball effectively. He finished off the drive with his first TD pass of the season, a four-yard toss to Chaney for his first career TD.
The Maroon Tigers would not go away and responded with a 14-play drive that ate up over eight minutes off the clock. But the Bison defense clamped down in the Red Zone and forced Morehouse to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Alexis Gonzales. The 14-9 score would stand at halftime.
In the second half, it was all McGhee. First he finished off a short drive with another one-yard plunge to make it, 21-9. He then capped off another drive, this time from 17 yards out to expand the lead to 28-9 with 1:50 left in the third quarter.
The last Bison score came courtesy of a play by the special teams. The Morehouse punt returner muffed a punt and gave Howard possession at Maroon Tiger 22-yard line. It took the southpaw four plays before he found Mercer from 17 yards for the score. For Mercer, a walk-on from the track tea, it was his first career TD.
The Maroon Tigers closed out the scoring when Johnson dashed six yards with a little under nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
From there, the Howard defense put the game away and posted its first win of the season.
Freeman, a 5-10 red-shirt junior from New Orleans, missed most of last season with a high ankle sprain. But he played a huge role in the game plan, rushing for 72 yards on 12 carries while grabbing four passes for 43 yards.
William Parker, who splits time at the running back position, proved to be a big contributor on special teams, returning three kickoffs for 100 yards to give his team excellent field position.
Punter John Fleck also had another solid day, averaging almost 42 yards per punt and knocking three of his attempts inside the 20-yard line.
The defense surrendered almost 400 yards of total offense, but it was able to come up with big stops when it needed to. Godspower Offor, Khari Brown and Devin Rollins and their mates combined to effectively stop Morehouse runners and apply pressure on Johnson.
The Bison have a huge test next week when it plays its MEAC opener against a much-improved Morgan State team in the New York Urban League Classic at MetLife Stadium.
Courtesy: Howard Sports Information