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College Football

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It's over

Prairie View finally ends 80-game losing streak

Click here for more on this story

Posted: Saturday September 26, 1998 11:50 PM

  Streak breaker: Coach Greg Johnson (right) led the Panthers to their first victory since October 28, 1989 AP

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Prairie View A&M ended the nation's longest losing streak against the team that started it, scoring two second-half touchdowns and making big defensive plays in a 14-6 victory over Langston on Saturday night.

The Panthers hadn't won since October 28, 1989, when they defeated Mississippi Valley State 21-12 and ironically their losing streak started with a 19-18 loss to Langston the next week.

"There wasn't any doubt in my mind what we could do," said Panthers coach Greg Johnson, who left Langston two years ago to rebuild the Panthers program. "We just had to believe and come through in the stretch."

Langston cut Prairie View's lead to 14-12 on Archie Craft's 51-yard touchdown pass to Ted Roberts with 34 seconds left. Langston then went for the tying 2-pointer, but Craft was stopped just short of the goal line on a quarterback sneak.

It took the referees about 15 seconds to untangle the players near the goal line, and signal that the conversion failed. When the signal finally came, Prairie View players began celebrating.

"We stopped him [Craft] on the 3 and thought we stopped his forward motion, then he fell through," said defensive lineman Antonio Scott.

"Coach always said the team would come together by the third or fourth game. This was the fourth game."

Langston tried an onside kick, but it was recovered by Prairie View, and the Panthers ran out the clock.

"It was well overdue. ... we've been in all kinds of situations and we finally got it done," Johnson said.

A crowd of about 5,000 was on hand for the game, played in Oklahoma City as the third annual T.M. Crisp Classic. Johnson started the game while at Langston as a way to promote football at predominantly black colleges.

The Prairie View basketball team gave the school hope last season when it earned a spot in the NCAA playoffs with a surprising march through the SWAC tournament. But the football victory over Langston was even more stunning.

Safety Terry Green (28) helped Praire View A&M hold Langston to 12 points to end the losing streak AP 

Prairie View trailed 3-0 at halftime after gaining just 49 yards. But the Panthers established themselves on the opening drive of the second half, going 69 yards and capping the drive with a 6-yard run by Omar Garnette to take a 7-3 lead.

Prairie View (1-3), an NCAA Division I-AA team, scored again seven minutes later on a 57-yard run by Kevin Bell.

Langston (2-2), an NAIA school, got a 36-yard field goal from Kevin McKee in the first quarter, but that was it until the 8:12 mark of the fourth quarter when McKee kicked a 35-yard field goal to make it 14-6.

Prairie View then fumbled the ball on first down and Langston recovered at the Panthers' 11. But Langston netted minus-1 yard on three plays and then missed a field goal.

Langston's next drive ended on downs at the Prairie View 39, but the Lions got the ball back for a final time with 1:49 left on their own 29.

An 11-yard completion kept the drive alive on fourth-and-seven. Two plays later, Craft hit Roberts down the middle for the touchdown.

The Lions drove to the Prairie View 12-yard line just before halftime but an interception killed the drive.

Langston also fumbled the ball away at the Prairie View 10 on the final play of the third quarter.

Last year. the Lions played host to Grambling and coach Eddie Robinson, who was in the final year of his long career.

Prairie View started the season with 77 straight losses.

The Panthers trailed Southern University 10-0 going into the fourth quarter last week before losing 37-7.

In their opener, they fell behind Texas Southern 17-0 before losing 24-13. In their second game, the Panthers blew a halftime lead and lost to Howard Payne 22-14.

 

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