There were a few bright spots for the teams in this year’s AT&T Nation’s Football Classic as they opened their seasons this past weekend. After a slow start, Howard rebounded to play Maryland to a nearly even second half in a 52-13 loss. Hampton, meantime, briefly threatened Old Dominion in the third quarter, but the Pirates were undone by a series of costly mistakes in a 54-21 loss.
"We were overmatched," Hampton Coach Connell Maynor told the Newport News Daily Press. "We knew playing this game, we'd learn a lot about ourselves — what we need to improve on and what areas we're decent at. It was a great opportunity for us to see where we are."
The Pirates trailed 31-7 in the second quarter, before a gutsy call to go for it from the Old Dominion 4-yard line with one second left in the half. J.J. Williamson connected with Shakim Alonzo for the touchdown, then Hampton started the second half with a six-minute drive capped by Dwayne Garrett’s two-yard touchdown that made it 31-21.
But a safety after a botched punt snap followed by an interception return for a touchdown doomed the Pirates, who host William & Mary this Saturday.
Senior Rashawn Proctor, who started his college career at Old Dominion, set career-highs with nine catches for 161 yards.
Meantime, Howard also fell behind quickly, trailing 35-0 at halftime, but was much improved in the second half. Freshman wide receiver Kyle Anthony caught two touchdown passes, one from each of the team’s quarterbacks, Kalen Johnson and Jason Collins. Running back Anthony Philyaw, a junior who missed the past two seasons for personal reasons, rushed for 53 yards on 18 carries, showing glimpses of his freshman season, when he rushed for 16 touchdowns.
In all, after being held to 53 yards of total offense in the first half, the Bison gained 216 yards in the second half.
Another tough test awaits this coming Saturday, with a road trip to Rutgers.
Howard and Hampton meet on Saturday, Sept. 17 in the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic® at RFK Stadium. Tickets for the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic® begin at $25 and are available at ticketmaster.com.