Hampton University still has a lot to prove

Eight points.

That's what separates Hampton University from where it is to where it wishes it was.

The Pirates, who began the season with hopes of a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title, lost last Saturday's homecoming game 23-18 to undefeated Bethune-Cookman and previously lost 10-7 to South Carolina State.

But now that the Pirates are in third place and out of contention for a conference title, coach Donovan Rose's son offered him the best advice.

"Get over it," the 14-year-old said.

Rose will heed those words as he tries to salvage the rest of this season.

The Pirates will travel to Tallahassee, Fla., to face Florida A&M Saturday.

Hampton had five turnovers, including four fumbles, and committed 12 penalties in the loss to Bethune-Cookman.

Rose said he will be focusing on the little things this week because that's what he felt held his team back in those close losses.

"I think once you do all those little things then in games and clutch situations you're ready for it," Rose said.

This is a game that carries many back stories, including the second match-up between former Pirates coach, Joe Taylor, and the chance to keep the Rattlers from getting closer to first place.

For many of the players, particularly senior defensive end Brandon Peguese, this game is also about pride.

"We want to finish strong," he said. "We want to be the best defense in the country."

The Pirates are ranked seventh in the nation in total defense and while Rose wants excellence from the defense, he is not going to put a number on it.

"I'd love to put up another goose egg," Rose said in reference to the 25-0 win from last year," but right now I just want the W."

The Pirates offense, on the other hand, has struggled mightily for the second half of the season. The offensive unit hasn't scored more than 14 points since a 20-14 win over Delaware State on Sept. 30.

"We haven't played a total game yet," Rose said. "We do that, it's kind of lights out."

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad