DURHAM, N.C. – Senior quarterback Malcolm Bell amassed 345 yards of total offense and accounted for three touchdowns to lead No. 25 North Carolina Central University to a 30-21 victory over Howard University on Saturday inside O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium.
NCCU (8-2, 7-0 MEAC) remains unbeaten in the MEAC with its 14th straight conference victory. Wins by the Eagles and North Carolina A&T (9-1, 7-0 MEAC) on Saturday, sets up a showdown between the rivals on Nov. 19 at 2 p.m. inside O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium with the winner claiming the league’s first outright conference championship title since 2012.
Bell’s 223 yards and a touchdown through the air against Howard moves the three-year starter into second on NCCU’s career passing list with 5,916 yards. The Richmond, Virginia native is also second among the school’s career leaders with 7,258 yards of total offense.
With an average of 11.1 yards per carry and two touchdown runs against the Bison, Bell’s 122 rushing yards on Saturday are the most by an NCCU quarterback since September 1999.
NCCU sophomore running back Ramone Simpson rushed for 81 yards and a score, while redshirt freshman Torri Cotton contributed 45 yards rushing, averaging 6.4 yards per carry.
Jalen Wilkes caught five passes for 64 yards to top the Eagles, followed by LaVontis Smith with four receptions for 58 yards. David Miller had three grabs for 36 yards, including a diving catch in the end zone, and freshman tight end Maleek Henderson also tallied three receptions for 36 yards.
Senior linebacker LeGrande Harley recorded a team-high nine tackles, including a huge stop for a loss on third down and short yardage to spark NCCU. Safety Alden McClellon collected eight takedowns, while Mike Jones, Jeremy Miles and Reggie Hunter chipped in six tackles each. Hunter closed out the game with his team-best fourth interception of the season, all coming in the last three outings. Antonio Brown had four tackles with two solo sacks to bring his season total to 7.0 sacks, tops on the squad.
NCCU finished the contest with 477 yards of total offense (254 rushing, 223 passing), while Howard posted 422 total yards.
Howard (1-9, 1-6 MEAC) was topped by running back Anthony Philyaw with 139 yards and a touchdown rushing and 45 yards receiving for 184 all-purpose yards. Quarterback Kalen Johnson completed 22-of-34 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns.
The Bison defense was charged by linebacker Jalen Day with a game-high 11 tackles.
Courtesy: NCCU Athletics
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