FOOTBALL: Elis outlast Howard in first home game
The Bulldogs faced the Howard Bisons for the first time in history at its home opener and left the turf with a 34–26 victory.
Courtesy of David Schamis
The Yale football team (2–1, 1–0 Ivy) prevailed over Howard (1–4, 0–0 MEAC) in a historic matchup as the teams met for the first time ever in the Harmony Classic, a game organized by the Connecticut NAACP to inspire fellowship across college campuses.
This Sunday’s game only added to the Bulldog’s recent winning streak. Despite the drizzle, the team finished the match with a score of 34–26, emphasizing their rushing attack and gaining a total of 366 yards on the ground to the cheers of 9,200 people.
“It was an amazing opportunity for the Yale community to have such an outstanding group of football players,” Yale head coach Tony Reno told Yale Athletics. “It was two amazing institutions playing the game of football.”
After a decisive 38–14 win against Cornell the Saturday before, the Elis were fired up for their return to New Haven and their home turf. Running back Tre Peterson ’24 had a game-high 144 yards on 12 carries, and quarterback Nolan Grooms ’24 added 130 yards on 16 carries.
“The game turned out great for us as a team,” Peterson told the News. “We didn’t execute to the best of our abilities, but we played hard and stayed true to our techniques and preparation to get the win.”
Howard opened the scoring with a 31-yard field goal by kicker Aaron Bickerton with just under six minutes in the first quarter.
However, the Elis were able to turn things around in the second quarter as their offensive line began creating holes for their rushing attack.
“They like to set up things with their run game,” Howard head coach Larry Scott said to Bison Athletics. “And their quarterback [Grooms] can hurt you with his legs and his arm.”
Running back Joshua Pitsenberger ’26 scored on a 25-yard run to open the second period. Over the course of the game, Pitsenberger amassed 87 yards on nine carries.
That score seemed to spark the Bulldogs’ offense, as they drove down the field a few minutes later to set up a 42-yard field goal by Jack Bosman ’24. Less than three minutes later, Grooms found tight end Jackson Hawes ’24 for a seven-yard touchdown pass to give Yale a 17–6 lead. Bickerton added Howard’s second field goal of the game as the first half ended, kicking the ball 27 yards and bringing the score to 17–6.
Just over a minute after halftime, where both the Howard and Yale bands performed, Grooms ran 54 yards to score a touchdown on the first drive of the third quarter.
“The offense was able to establish a solid running game,” offensive lineman and team captain Nick Gargiulo ’23 said. “The defense played physical and was able to force two key turnovers.”
Howard didn’t quit fighting — the Bisons answered back with a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Quinton Williams and a four-yard score by running back Ian Wheeler within the same minute of play in the final quarter, narrowing the margin to 27–20.
Williams completed 23 of 42 for 226 yards, and Howard running back Eden James led the Bison in rushing 50 yards on six carries. Wide receiver Kasey Hawthorne caught seven passes for 112 yards, and linebacker Christain White led the Bisons with a high of four tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
“I thought our team played well,” Gargiulo said. “We set ourselves up with an opportunity to close the game out in the fourth quarter and we did that.”
The Bulldog defense, though, picked off Bison quarterback Quinton Williams twice. Defensive back Dathan Hickey ’23 made a play on the sideline to tackle Williams, and linebacker Hamilton Moore ’23 tipped a screen pass to force a turnover.
Moore led the defense with a total of 12 tackles; both defensive backs Wande Owens ’23 and Miles Oldacre ’23 added seven sacks. Defensive lineman Reid Nickerson ’23, linebacker Joseph Vaughn ’23 and defensive lineman Adam Raine ’23 also had sacks.
Next Saturday, Yale will face its next Ivy league opponent, Dartmouth, in its second game of the season at the Yale Bowl.
Howard University is a historically Black university located in Washington, D.C.