KENT, Ohio — After a monumental victory at UNLV, Howard Football came up short against FBS opponent Kent State (KSU), 38-31, at Dix Stadium.
Despite the loss, HU utilized a balance attack with 452 total offense.
“I’m extremely proud of this football team,” said Howard Football Head Coach Mike London. “To go back-to-back against two FBS teams and win one on the road, and then to fight to stay in one makes me extremely proud of these players. Obviously, there are some things we need to take care of and work on but as far as the effort and energy, my 57 scholarship guys versus their 80 plus, I’m extremely proud of that effort.”
Senior running back Anthony Philyaw, MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, led the Bison attack with 167 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Kyle Anthony grabbed five catches for 100 yards while Jequez Ezzard had three receptions for 120 yards in a losing effort.
“The offense showed up today,” Philyaw stated “Obviously, we lost but we fought. We’re going to focus on coming out and make sure we play to our fullest potential.”
Kent State jumped out to an early 14-0 lead until freshman quarterback Caylin Newton connected with Anthony for a 16-yard touchdown pass and sliced the margin in half, 14-7.
Early into the second, the Golden Flashes’ Nick Holley threw a 25-yard touchdown to Raekwon James and increased their advantage back to double-digits, 21-7.
With halftime approaching, HU’s Richard Johnson blocked a 26-yard field goal attempt and gave Howard momentum. Two plays later, Philyaw broke off a 75-yard big play and sliced the deficit before intermission, 21-14.
Defensively, Johnson and Devin Rollins each recorded double-digit tackles. Rollins finished with a team-best 12 tackles (10 solo) while Johnson added 11 tackles (seven solo) in the loss.
“There’s nothing they did that we didn’t practice,” said Rollins. “We just have to focus on our work and eliminate big plays. We would make stops, but that one big play will always kill the defense.”
After stopping Kent State on their first possession in the second half, HU’s Dakota Lebofsky drilled a 23-yard field goal and trimmed the margin down to four, 21-17.
With more than six minutes left in the third, a high snap over punter Damion Gillespie gave Kent State a safety and pushed the deficit to six, 23-17.
Howard fought back and took their first lead of the game after a 1-yard QB sneak from Newton, 24-23.
KSU regained the moment after an 11-play, 58 yard drive, capped off by a two-point conversion, 31-24.
Late into the fourth, a rushing touchdown from KSU’s Kesean Gamble put the Golden Flashes’ advantage back to double-digits.
Howard refused to give up as they marched down the field and cut the margin down to seven after a 4-yard scramble from Newton, 38-31.
For Kent State (1-1), Holley went for 119 yards on the ground while throwing for 105 yards with three total touchdowns in the victory.