FCS Team of the Week: Howard’s upset historic

Howard players celebrate after defeating UNLV 43-40 during an NCAA college football game at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

(STATS) – It wasn’t the biggest win of Mike London’s coaching career, but Howard’s 43-40 stunner at UNLV on Saturday night was the unlikeliest.

In London’s first game guiding Howard, the 45-point underdog Bison posted the biggest point-spread upset in college football history.

“It’s all relative,” said London, who won the 2008 FCS national title at Richmond and then coached Virginia. “I’ve been at a place where we beat Miami and Florida State in the same year, and it hadn’t been done. A place like Howard that’s looking for redemption in its program … a big win on the road against a team like this is a great win for the program, particular for the players and the football alum that have experienced some success and those that want to experience success.”

Howard has posted only one winning record in the last 15 seasons and finished 2-9 last year, but the struggling MEAC program’s outlook is much different under London. When even a credible loss against an FBS opponent probably might have sufficed to open the new era, the Bison caught UNLV napping, especially on true freshman quarterback Caylin Newton.

The brother of Carolina Panthers signal caller Cam Newton accounted for 330 total yards, including 190 on 21 carries, three total touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. His 4-yard TD run with 7:34 left put Howard ahead for good.

Senior running back Anthony Philyaw, the MEAC’s preseason offensive player of the year, finished with 133 yards from scrimmage and scored two straight touchdowns after UNLV had surged ahead 33-21 in the third quarter with 24 straight points. Leland Lassiter recorded a team-high 11 tackles.

“I’m extremely proud of this team,” London said, “to come on the road, play a (FCS) opponent, time difference. Just so proud of the effort, the tremendous effort, the culmination of this day led up from the early workouts to so many things. I give a lot of credit to the players and the coaches that put the game plans together. We’re so happy for the outcome.”

Can the FCS Team of the Week make it two straight against the FBS? Next Saturday, they travel to Kent State, which lost to MEAC member North Carolina A&T last season.