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Hampton vs Howard: Truth and Service Classic takes over Audi Field in DC

A rivalry game to decide "the real HU" is going down at the Truth and Service Classic.

WASHINGTON — Another chapter of a long-standing rivalry between Hampton and Howard Universities will be written on Saturday at Audi Field in D.C. The storied rivalry between two of the nation's most prominent historically Black colleges dates back to 1908 and is known as the "Battle for the Real HU." 

The Truth and Service Classic was established in 2021 when Audi Field hosted Howard University against longtime rivals Hampton University at the 20,000-seat venue in downtown Washington, D.C., the home of Major League Soccer club D.C. United. Hampton University won the inaugural Truth and Service Classic at Audi Field when they took down the Howard Bison by a score of 48-22 on Sept. 18, 2021, in front of a near-capacity crowd. On Oct. 15, 2022, Howard University hosted Harvard University in the second installment of the Truth and Service Classic at Audi Field, falling to the Crimson 41-25.

Kery Davis, Howard's Athletic Director, he's excited about the game, and continuing the rivalry, even if the two university's are similar. 

"In a lot of ways, we're almost like cousins. We have very similar missions. We look at the world very similarly, and academic standards are important to us. It's those kinds of things that make a rivalry... it's like competing with your brother or competing with your sister. You know you love them, but you also want to beat them," Davis said.

In the last two years, Howard University has been having a moment. Bison teams have won 12 conference championships and two national championships in swimming and golf, but they have not beaten the Hampton Pirates in football in eight years. 

"I am not leaving this post before we beat Hampton," Davis said. "It's all love, but I definitely want to win."

Hampton University President Darrell Williams says he has no intention of letting that happen in 2023, the 98th meeting between the two schools. Smith points out that Hampton leads the series with a record of 55-41-1 against the Bison.

"Hampton has won this game every year since 2015, and we don't intend to let that change," Williams said.

The president is quick to point out, the game is about more than the final score, however.

"It's a historic game that highlights the richness of the culture and the academic excellence of HBCUs," Williams said. 

Kickoff for the Truth and Service Classic is set for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16. For more information, and to grab tickets, click here.

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