The Alabama State Hornets took on the Howard Bison in Atlanta for the 17th Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge. ASU’s first-year head coach Eddie Robinson Jr. looks to lead the Hornets off to a 1-0 start with his new coaching staff, and second-year head coach Larry Scott looks to continue to improve Howard’s program with his Power 5 experience.
The game started out slow as kickoff was delayed from 7 pm to 8:30 pm ET. But this didn’t stop both teams’ energy levels. Howard would receive the opening kick and Senior quarterback, Quinton Williams, took the field for the Bison. The drive started strong as he took them 56 yards downfield to the Hornet 28-yard line before settling for a field goal. Alabama State struggled their first drive going three and out with negative three total yards. They caught a lucky break with defensive back Adrian Maddox intercepting Howard Williams for the game’s first turnover. On a play-action pass, Williams rolled out to his right before Alabama State applied pressure which caused the errant throw. A second weather delay pushed the game back again to 9:41 p.m. ET. Alabama State has the ball 4th-and-7 from the Howard 30-yard line with 4:28 remaining in the 1st quarter. The Hornets were able to convert that into points with a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Ja’won Howell to put them up 6-3 after missing the extra point.
Later in the second quarter, Auburn Transfer Demetrius Davis would throw his first touchdown pass of the season as a Hornet to wide receiver Isaiah Scott for an 11-yard score at the front left corner of the endzone making the game 13-3. Howard would get another field goal to stay in the fight but still failed to get into the endzone. After that, there was a blocked punt by Howard defensive tackle Jevin Jackson. The ball was caught in the air by Darrian Brokenburr, who was tackled at the Alabama State 20-yard line. But their offense missed a field goal that would’ve pulled them within one score.
After a slow start to the third quarter, Alabama State running back Jacory Merritt found the endzone, running 21 yards for the touchdown. Merritt’s touchdown run was set up by a 61-yard pass from quarterback Myles Crawley to Scott. It would end up being a nine-play, 99-yard scoring drive for the Hornets, a MEAC/SWAC Challenge record for the longest drive.
Fast forward to the fourth quarter, Howard running back Jarett Hunter tip-toed up the sideline for a 5-yard touchdown run. It was Howard’s first touchdown of the day making the score 20-13 with ASU still on top. Alabama State would get another field goal before a third weather delay would ultimately finalize the game.
Final score: Alabama State 23, Howard 13