Blackout Part 2--Thursday Sept. 22nd vs Hampton--Photo courtesy of BCU Athletics

Shortly after his team’s 26-18 setback to South Carolina State (on Sept. 10th), Brian Jenkins was asked how the defeat altered his outlook on the season. The second year head coach quickly and emphatically replied: “it doesn’t; we’re still going for it all”.

Coach Jenkins’ competitive nature and on-the-field success has helped re-energize the BCU fanbase and raise expectations in Wildcatland. However, if the second year head coach hopes to have any realistic chance of qualifying for this year’s FCS playoffs, his Fighting Wildcats (1-1) must win Thursday nights’ (Sept. 22nd) contest against the Hampton Pirates (2-1).

The Pirates are a formidable team who will not easily relinquish to defeat. Hampton (HU), boast the MEAC’s leader in Total Offense in quarterback David Legree (273.3 ypg); the MEAC’s leading rusher in Antwon Chisholm (81 ypg); as well as the conference’s leading tackler in Delbert Tyler (35 total, 11.7 per game). Legree played well in last week’s matchup against Old Dominion (ODU) accounting for over 320 yards of offense (260 passing, 1 TD; and 66 rushing 1 td); while Tyler (LB) was the defensive standout tallying 17 tackles in the defeat. The Pirates will look to rebound from the devastating 45-42 loss suffered at the hands of its Hampton Roads rival ODU. A 4th quarter blocked punt for a touchdown and two 4th quarter turnovers proved too much for Donovan Rose’s team to overcome. A Hampton victory over Bethune would give them the inside tract to the MEAC’s automatic playoff bid. Hampton, who already has a victory over MEAC foe FAMU and FCS opponent Alabama A&M, still controls its own destiny. The Pirates avoid South Carolina State (SCSU) this year thanks to the conference’s new unbalanced schedule. Based on the MEAC’s new tiebreaker system, HU (and not SCSU) would receive the conference’s automatic playoff bid if they both win out.

Uncharted waters

Thursday night’s game against Hampton is perhaps the most important game to date in Brian Jenkins’ young head coaching career. This will be the first time he has coach under any real distress. A win by BCU positions them nicely for a run at the MEAC crown and postseason play; while another conference loss all but certainly eliminates them from either. A defeat to Hampton would also start to raise some doubts and criticisms of Coach Jenkins. BCU is 1-3 in their last 4 overall matchups  and 0-2 in their last 2 conference games. The two defeats to end last season can be largely attributed to a compilation of injuries including a substantial one to the 2010-MEAC offensive player of the year, quarterback Matt Johnson. Conversely, the Wildcats were at full strength during last week’s defeat to the Bulldogs but uncharacteristically “played with a lack of discipline and detail” according to Coach Jenkins. Special teams miscues and untimely turnovers helped derail the Wildcats against SCSU. BCU will receive its first chance at redemption and hopes to prove that they are one of the best teams in all of FCS football when they faceoff with HU this Thursday night. The FCS world will be watching as the contest will be broadcast live to a national audience on ESPNU.  A good showing by the Wildcats could go a long way in helping them earn the “right to play for it all”.

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Other Notes

  • Last year’s BCU vs. HU contest was also broadcasted on ESPNU. The Wildcats ruined the Pirates homecoming and narrowly escaped with a victory. HU defensive lineman Kenrick Ellis was nearly unblockable in that contest but the Wildcats clawed their way to a 23-18 victory. Ellis was selected by the NY Jets  in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL draft.
  • BCU has won the last three meetings versus Hampton.
  • Remember to wear your black as Thursday night’s contest is a “Black Out” game. Tickets are available for as low as $5.00 (visitor’s side only). Also, you can receive a FREE TICKET (visitor’s side) if you purchase a BCU Football t-shirt for $10.00. Please contact the BCU Box office for ticket information (386) 481-2465. 
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