When Howard beat the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in what’s been called the ‘biggest upset in college football history last Saturday, some of the school’s students were shocked.
“Everyone knows that Howard is not known for sports. Especially not football,” said Kaila Vannoy, a senior from North Brunswick, New Jersey.
Howard recorded the biggest point-spread (45) upset in college football history on the road against UNLV, winning 43-40 at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Vannoy had not experienced much football excitement, aside from homecoming and big games against rivals like Hampton and Rutgers.
However, after Howard’s victory, Vannoy’s senior year may be filled with excitement after all.
“I wasn’t expecting much, and figured this was about to be another season of disappointment,” Vannoy said. “So, when I found out they won on Saturday, I was really proud of them. They went out there and proved everyone wrong.”
The university had only won three games in the past two years, but with a new head coach and quarterback, the team may have a successful 2017-2018 season.
“The coaching style and techniques have a lot to do with the success of the team,” said D’Anthony Clipps, a former Bison football player. “The energy and passion the new coach brought, helped bring out the best of their players’ abilities.”
But London wasn’t the only person to make a big debut on the field.
Freshman quarterback Caylin Newton, who is North Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s younger brother, made his mark with 330 offensive yards and three touchdowns.
In an interview with ESPN, Cam Newton mentioned his younger brother’s capability to change the football culture at the historically black school. “Like a team that has probably been known for their band, you know, people are going to the football games now to watch football… not just to listen to the band play.”
Natia Warren, a student-athlete and captain of the Lacrosse team hopes the energy will maintain across all sports this year. “Maybe if the football team can win, maybe we all can win,” Warren said. “Especially if the school supports us and keeps our spirit up.”
Howard will face Kent State University next on Saturday, September 9 in Ohio. The first home game will be Saturday, September 23 against Bethune-Cookman University.