The Nations Classic: Morehouse College vs. Howard University
The 2nd annual AT&T classic with Morehouse vs Howard ended with another great game, this time instead of Howard winning by three, it was an even closer game with Howard edging it out by one. The game ended 30-29
Im glad to say that after seeing and feeling the sense of pride these two schools have, I will definitely be attending more. The masses of people parking trying to get to the game and find their tailgating tents; from babies to older alumni wearing their school colors to show that unity of their schools. Tamar Braxton opened the ceremony with the nations anthem, and soon kick off was underway.
Morehouse won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half, Howard will receive to begin the game. I have to say, this game was an exciting one. In the first quarter neither team scored, but the biggest play of that quarter was Morehouse Dorian Greene field goal attempt that was blocked by Curtis Simmons and recovered by Howard at the Howard 17. In the second quarter, Morehouse finally put some points on the board with a completed field goal attempt from Dorian Greene. Howard, had an answer for that field goal with a completed pass by QB Randy Liggins to WR Jonathan Booker for a 50 yard touchdown. With 5:25 left before Halftime, Shelton Hamilton rushed for 2 yards to give Morehouse the lead. With Coach Harrell directing from the sidelines with the clock at 1:47, Randy Liggins completed a pass to Brandon Flanagan for a 32 yard touchdown.
During Halftime, the bands came on the field and gave a musical show! Morehouse with first with the sounds of Young Jeezy being played and the dance girls grooving to the sounds. When Howard’s band took the stage the stadium seemed to roar, with it being their city nothing different was expected. Their Drum major took the field solo and lead he band on the field. When the band started playing Rihanna, the dance girls ripped off their capes and danced their way to join their band. Being that this was my first show, I really enjoyed it. The only movie I could think of was naturally was Nick Cannon’s “Drumline”, I was waiting for someone to throw their drum sticks at their opponent but sadly my dream didn’t come true.
With the third quarter underway with Howard leading 14-10, Howard started off strong with a field goal attempt from the 22 yard line, that gave them a seven point lead. Too bad Morehouse wasn’t far behind, QB Donnay Ragland completed a pass to Sean Moore which was a 27 yard gain. With 6:07 mins left Howard called a timeout. The game returned and within 4 seconds Morehouse RB David Carter rushed for a 1 yard touchdown giving Morehouse a chance to tie the game at 17 but Dorian Greene’s field goal was blocked again this time by De’Ondre Pubh. As 2 minutes passed, at 4:18. David Carter rushed for his second touchdown, finally giving Morehouse the lead. In the final quarter, it was down to the wire and out of all four quarters, this one was the most explosive and would have had you on the edge of your seat. Neither Howard nor Morehouse wanted to leave the stadium without a “W” and every player left a part of them on that field. At the start of the quarter Dorian Greene, had yet another missed field goal at the 36 yard line. With the clock winding down and neither team being successful at getting any points, Howard’s Aquanius Freeman finally rushed for a 2 yard touchdown with 2:17 left in the game. With a response to Howard’s touchdown, Morehouse resulted in the same with a pass from Donnay Ragland to Devon Mann for a 72 yard touchdown return, a play they did in 12 seconds. Morehouse proceed to go with a two point conversion but failed to complete the pass. With the game seem to be in their pocket Morehouse started suffering penalties, with 2:08 left to go in the game Morehouse’s Devon Mann received an unsportsmanlike conduct flag which cost Morehouse 15 yards and personal foul which also resulted in 15 yards. Howard’s Jamie Cunningham, whom also won MVP, came in and put the final nail in Morehouse coffin. Cunningham throw a completed pass to David Wilson which resulted in a touchdown and the game for Howard University.
In the interview portion, the head coach from each team and two players came down and answered questions. Howards Coach Gary Harrell, QB Jamie Cunningham and RB Aquanius Freeman were the first ones to meet the press. When Coach Harrell was asked about the game he said:
“They came to play, they made us step our game up. Its good to start 1-0 against a tough team like Morehouse, it shows a lot of character for our team to play the way they did. We have a lot to fix internally, organization wise. The futures bright”
“Its a test of our faith and will, it gave us an opportunity to see what Jamie Cunningham could do, we got to use it as a positive light. As coaches we got to do what we have to do to get them prepared, no matter what class. They showed great character.”
With freshman Jamie Cunningham coming off the bench from being a red shirt to passing the winning Touchdown and winning the MVP of the game, he spoke about being calm and having no pressure.
“My coach always tells me to stay calm and stay cool, its no pressure. When the opportunity came I was ready for it.”
After questions were done with Howard, Morehouse Head Coach Rich Freeman, LB Elijah Anderson, and RB David Carter were up next.
“Things didn’t turn out the way we wanted them to turn out, our kids played hard, They had some players who didn’t play, hats off to the second string players who came in a filled those spots. We had a lot of mistakes and mental breakdowns”
“The good thing is, it was a preseason game for us, it had no play-off standings. Im happy with our QB and our brand new freshmen kicker who did everything we asked them to do. We have some work to do, we’ll get back look at the tape and make corrections”
“Just like last year, we beat ourselves again.”
“I feel like we played a pretty good Howard team. We had a lot of bright spots and not so good bright spots. We need to come out and play hard next week.”
When Coach Freeman said they beat themselves, he couldn’t have said better words. Morehouse had a total of of 472 yards while Howard had 317, Morehouse rushed for 218 yards and Howard 106 yards. On paper, Morehouse did everything they were supposed to in beating Howard but 4th quarter penalties that resulted in 30 yards was the nail in the coffin for Morehouse. Howard is now 2-0 against Morehouse in the Classic. Both teams have a lot of holes they need to fill in, in order to see success this season. Howards Gregg Mcghee and Keith Pough who were both suspended due to violating NCAA rules of misproper use of textbook allowances, weren’t allowed to play in this game but will be back next week to help correct the mistakes that Howard made. Morehouse has a young team, majority of their players are sophomores and freshmen, gaining this experience of a lost with such a close game will bond this team together and learn how to close out close games with minimizing their penalties with trivial calls such as “unsportsmanlike conduct” .
With a growing following AT&T’s Nations Classic Football game has become an exciting opener to start of college football. Both teams have a tough season coming up, but with going back to their respected fields and gaining confidence in not only their team but themselves, they will compete at high levels and who knows we could see them in championships.