Bison Play Strong Early Before Losing to Holy Cross
WORCESTER, MASS. - Howard University held the Holy Cross offense in check through most of the first half, but the Crusaders would go on to take advantage of some key Bison miscues to pull away to a 38-7 win in the season opener for both teams at Fitton Stadium.
Holy Cross (1-0), ranked Number 25 in the FCS poll, looked sharp on its opening drive, using a mixture of the run and the pass to march 68 yards on a 10-play that was culminated on an 11-yard pass from Ryan Taggart to Luke Chmeilinski with 10:30 on the clock in the first quarter.
Howard (0-1) was unable to move the ball on its first possession and was forced into a three-and-out. It was then the Bison asserted itself and took away the Crusaders' rhythm on offense.
On Howard' second possession, it put together a nice, 11-play, 65-yard drive that took 6:13 off the clock. Howard got all the way down to the Holy Cross six-yard line, but the drive stalled and the Bison were forced to attempt a 23-yard field goal that sailed wide left into the swirling wind.
The Bison defense continued to keep the high-scoring Crusaders off the scoreboard, forcing three straight three and outs on defense.
Howard then made the first of a couple of key turnovers. Terry Bradden (8 of 15 for 89 yards), who was starting his first game, threw an interception that was picked off by Alex Johnson and returned to the Bison 21. It took two plays before Taggart found Bill Edger for the TD and 14-0 lead that Holy Cross took to the locker room at the half.
The Crusaders would strike again at the beginning of the third quarter when they got good field position. It took Taggart three plays to go 50 yards, the last 38 coming on another hookup with Edger (7 receptions, 124 yards, 2 TDs).
Holy Cross would add a field goal three minutes later to up the margin to 24-0 at the 9:05 mark of the third quarter.
The Bison would finally get on the board for the first time this season when Jarad Dorsey (5 of 9 for 96 yards, 1 TD) connected with Willie Carter from 33 yards out. The drive was well executed, with Howard using 15 plays to go 80 yards and taking 7:24 off the clock.
Holy Cross came back with an answer, however, when Sam Auffant bolted 10 yards up the middle to up the score to 31-7 Freddie Santana closed out the scoring for the Crusaders with an 85-yard punt return.
The Bison outgained Holy Cross, 308-282 in total offense for the game and won the time of possession battle, 36 minutes to 23.
Willie Carter again showed why he is one of the top receivers in FCS. The 6-3, 190-pound junior accounted for 147 yards of offense including 130 yards on 6 receptions. He torched the Crusaders' secondary and when he was not catching passes, he was drawing huge chunks of yardage for pass interference penalties.
The Bison will be looking for their first win of the season when they host MEAC rival Hampton University next Saturday at 1 pm in Greene Stadium.