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Washington, DC—Greg McGhee passed for 242 yards and three TDs and added 54 more on the ground and the defense recorded nine sacks to lead Howard to a 27-16 win over Morehouse College in the Third Annual AT&T Nation's Football Classic before 17,012 at RFK Stadium.
The Maroon Tigers (0-1) got on the board first when they drove 68 yards on 13 plays and got the ball down to the Bison 20-yard line but had to settle for 37-yard Hector Solis field goal.
The Bison (1-1) responded on their next possession when they countered with a 42-yard field goal by John Fleck that knotted the score at 3-3 at the end of the first quarter.
From there, the Howard defense began to harass the Morehouse quarterbacks, recording nine sacks. McGhee took advantage of their play by putting together three drives. The first took six plays and resulted in a 20-yard strike in the corner of the end to freshman running back Anthony Philyaw.
The junior from Pittsburgh, Pa came right back with another six-play drive, but it stalled and Howard had to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Fleck.
McGhee closed out the half with a 27-yard pass to Matt Colvin that upped the margin to 20-3 at the half.
"It was a matter of tempo for us," said McGhee. "Our controlling the tempo of the game was the key to us being successful. Once we got our rhythm, we were able to have some success."
The Bison appeared to have the game in hand when McGhee capped off another short trek with a 26-yard run and catch to Rodney Tyson midway through the third period.
Then the Maroon Tigers made it interesting. Following a Bison turnover, Joshua Harris began to make the plays that gave the Bison defense fits. After scrambling his way through and around the Howard defense, he found Brandon Sartin from nine yards to cut the deficit to 27-9 with 49 seconds left in the third quarter.
From there, it appeared that Morehouse seized the momentum. The Maroon Tigers put together a nine-play, 90-yard drive that was capped off with a three-yard run by Shelton Hamilton. That reduced the deficit to 27-16 with 10:06 still remaining in regulation.
"We slacked off in the second half, but we were able to regroup and pull out the win," said Howard head coach Ray Petty.
Howard clamped down and turned up the heat on defense, recording key sacks and stops to close out the game with its first win of the season.
"We wanted to be in a bend-but-not break defense," said senior linebacker Tabrian Resby, who led the team with nine tackles and two sacks. "We knew that they had to score to win, so we said 'do what we have to do but don't let them get into the end zone.'"
NEXT UP: Howard travels to Norfolk, VA to take on the Monarchs of Old Dominion next Saturday at 6 pm.
GAME NOTES: William Parker had another good effort, rushing for 60 yards on 17 carries…McGhee completed passes to nine different receivers…Fleck continues to show improvement, averaging almost 44 yards per punt and knocking four inside the 20-yard line…he also made good on both his field goal attempts…the Howard defense recorded 14 tackles for losses to go along with their nine sacks.