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Howard Downs Morehouse In The Inaugural Nations Football Classic (2261 hits)

Washington, DCSeptember 10Greg McGhee threw for three touchdowns and the defense came up with the big plays down the stretch to lead Howard University to a thrilling 30-27 win over Morehouse College in the First Annual Nations Football Classic at RFK Stadium before 18,049.

A 6-3, 200-pound freshman from Pittsburgh, PA, McGhee completed 22 of 29 for 248 yards while adding another 46 yards on the ground. All totals were career highs.

The Maroon Tigers (1-1) jumped on top early when sophomore quarterback Donnay Ragland connected with senior wide receiver Derrick Hector from 18 yards out at the 7:42 mark of the first quarter.

The Bison (1-1) answered three minutes later when McGhee engineered an 81-yard drive that took eight plays and used 3:14 off the clock. The drive was capped off with a 39-yard TD pass to senior wide receiver Willie Carter down the left sideline. It was McGhees first career TD pass.

Howard got an easy score two minutes later when the Morehouse center snapped the ball out of the end zone to make it 9-7 at the 2:23 mark.

But the Maroon Tigers responded less than a minute later when sophomore running back Winston Brodrick scored from a yard out following the first of four Bison turnovers.

Morehouse threatened to score on at least three occasions in the second quarter but each time, the Bison defense stiffened. The two teams played to a scoreless third quarter.

The Maroon Tigers opened the scoring in the third quarter when junior running back David Carter burst through the right side of the Howard defense and raced 81 yards to give his team a 20-9 lead 40 seconds into the third stanza.

That is when McGhee began to assert himself. Taking advantage of some good field position due to some Morehouse miscues, McGhee capped off a short drive by connecting with freshman wide receiver Brandon Flanagan for a 29-yard TD pass. A pass from McGhee to Carter narrowed the deficit to 20-17 with 4:13 remaining in the third quarter.

McGhee put together an 11-play, 85-yard drive that used up over four minutes off the clock. The freshman, who was named the game MVP, capped off the drive with a 23-yard pass over the middle to Carter, their second hookup of the day.

The Bison, buoyed by the return of their team leader, red-shirt junior linebacker Keith Pough, shut down the Maroon Tiger offense and got the ball back to McGhee who rewarded their efforts with a 62-yard, seven-play drive. Junior running back Charles Brice scored on a 17-yard burst off the left side to open up a 30-20 lead with 6:03 remaining. Pough missed the entire third quarter with leg cramps.

But Morehouse refused to fold. The Maroon Tigers came up with their third fumble recovery of the game. Latavius Watts rumbled 15 yards with a Brice fumble to close the deficit to 30-27 with 2:20 still left.

The Bison attempted to run out the clock on their next possession but the Maroon Tigers were able to get the ball back and made things interesting, quickly moving the ball down the field. But red-shirt senior defensive tackle Corey Berry came up with a big sack for a seven-yard loss and senior cornerback Lanny Kelly picked off his second interception of the game to seal the win for the Bison, who snapped a seven-game losing streak, dating back to last season.

Flanagan caught a career high six passes for 72 yards and his first TD. Brice led the rushing attack with 52 yards on 11 carries off the bench.

There were standouts on defense as well. Pough finished with 10 tackles, including two big stops on third and short in the fourth quarter. Kelly had two interceptions.

The Maroon Tigers were led by Carter, who rushed for a game-high 122 yards on 10 carries Hector, who led all receivers with six catches for 99 yards.

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Friday, September 30th 2011 at 5:51AM
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