Following 13th ranked (SportsNetwork) Bethune-Cookman’s pivotal 14-3 win over South Carolina State Saturday at Municipal Stadium, I started thinking about the intense battles this matchup has produced in recent history.
Although the Bulldogs lead the series 28-19-1, the Wildcats have won three of the last four meetings and have had some of their most memorable wins in school history versus their conference foes from Orangeburg, SC.
Listed below are the top five games between the Wildcats and Bulldogs.
What a great time to be in the World’s Most Famous Beach. The days are sunny, the nights are pleasant, and there is a tangible sensation of excitement permeating the air. It is homecoming week at Bethune-Cookman University and the Wildcats are preparing to take on perennial MEAC power South Carolina State.
This matchup is special any time it’s played. Adding the pageantry, expectations, and atmosphere of a homecoming event to it as well as the stakes of first place in the league standings makes it epic.
The BCU vs. SCSU annual showdown has become one of the best on-the-field rivalries (albeit a non-traditional one) in all of HBCU football. There is no disdain for or hatred of the opposing team’s fan base. There are no geographical wars over disputed lands of which to speak. To the best of our knowledge, no grandkids have been written out of the Will for choosing the wrong side and no giant oak trees have been poisoned (sorry Auburn fans). Instead, this rivalry evolved from intense, hard-hitting action on the field and the primal desire of 2 clans of alpha males slugging it out to prove that they are the MEAC’s top dog (or top cat if you prefer).
SCSU standout defensive lineman Javon Hargrave stated he thinks about Bethune-Cookman a lot. “The coaches keep saying how they’ve got us set up for homecoming,” Hargrave said. “We just don’t get along with Bethune-Cookman very well. South Carolina State and Bethune-Cookman is a rivalry.”
Tradional HBCU rivalries like Jackson State vs. Tennessee State; Alabama State vs. Alabama A&M; and FAMU vs. Southern all draw much larger crowds, but when BCU and SCSU tangle the outcomes have an impact on the college football landscape.
The winner of this game has gone on to win 4 of the last 5 MEAC championships. They share 5 playoff appearances between themselves since 2008 and they have won 2 Black College National Championships in that same timeframe. BCU and SCSU were predicted to finish 1st and 2nd respectively by the league’s coaches and sports information directors at this year’s MEAC Media Luncheon. They rank first and second in the league in Scoring Offense, Total Offense, Scoring Defense, and Total Defense.
SCSU head coach Buddy Pough has won four MEAC crowns in 11 seasons and guided the Bulldogs to an all-time MEAC best 21 consecutive game conference win streak from 2007-2010. In a twist of irony, BCU can match that mark this season if they win out and it was the Jenkins-led Wildcats who ended the Bulldogs win streak in Oliver Dawson Stadium in October of 2010.
The Wildcats have won 2 MEAC titles in Brian Jenkins’ first 3 seasons. Jenkins owns a 2-1 head-to-head advantage over Pough and BCU has won 9 of the past 15 matchups with SCSU. The Wildcats are the only MEAC school to boast a winning record in Orangeburg during Pough’s tenure (3-1). However, this game isn’t being played in South Cackalacky and the homefield has proven to be somewhat of a disadvantage in this matchup as of late. The road team has inexplicably won 6 of the last 8 meetings in this contest. In SCSU’s last visit to Municipal Stadium two years ago, they left with a 26-18 victory.
The 2011 loss suffered at the hands of the Bulldogs is the only MEAC home defeat on Jenkins’ record and it is all that separates coach Jenkins from earning 3 MEAC crowns in 3 years. Saturday’s winner will earn sole possession of 1st place in the conference and gain a stronghold on the league’s automatic qualifier bid for postseason play.
It’s Buddy vs. Brian; the 101 vs. the Pride; the old guard vs. the new; Big Dogs vs. Big Cats; South Carolina State vs. Bethune-Cookman. It’s HBCU football at its best.
So tell us what you think. Has the BCU vs. SCSU matchup become the best non-traditionalrivalry in HBCU football?
Bethune-Cookman scored 42 first half points and cruised to a 48-21 victory against Savannah State on Saturday evening in Municipal Stadium. Cary White and Isidore Jackson accounted for all six of BCU’s first-half touchdowns.
Jackson opened the game’s scoring on a 16-yard TD reception from Quentin Williams and rushed for two more scores later in the half. White added rushing touchdowns of 1, 24 and 12 yards.
Simon Heyward scored on a 76-yard TD pass from Leon Prunty to give the Tigers their first points of the evening.
After a scoreless 3rd quarter, SSU scored twice in the 4th on a pair of Antonio Bostick touchdown throws. BCU registered its only points of the second half on the strength of a 27 yard TD run by Michael Jones.
The Wildcats now shift their attention towards next week’s homecoming showdown against South Carolina State.
After a hard fought 12-9 road victory over Tennessee State last Sunday, the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats return to the friendly confines of Municipal Stadium to take on the Virginia Union Panthers in today’s home opener.
Like Tenn State, Virginia Union will field a bevy of Floridians (19 are listed on VUU’s roster including 5 from Sanford Seminole) who would love nothing more than to shock the HBCU sports world by upsetting the top ranked team in black college football. But unlike TSU, Virginia Union, who competes in Division II, does not stand much of a chance in pulling off the upset against Brian Jenkins’ club.
The Panthers finished 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the CIAA a season ago. VUU was predicted to finish 8th in their conference heading into this season; they can offer just over half the number of scholarships as BCU (NCAA rules limit full football scholarships to 36 for D2 institutions; as compared to 63 for FCS programs); and today’s game is VUU’s season opener. All signs suggest this should be a decisive BCU win. But hey, its football and you still have to line-up and play the game.
In fact, Wildcat fans should well remember the last time a CIAA team visited Daytona Beach (in 2009) the Shaw Bears forced 7 BCU turnovers and may have helped seal the fate of then head coach Alvin Wyatt Sr. as the Bears defeated the Wildcats 20-6. We expect no such recurrence today. The Wildcats are simply too big, too strong, too fast and they should have no problems imposing their will on the out-manned Panthers.
Look for the BCU running game, led by senior Isidore Jackson, to have a huge day. Jackson is now less than 400 yards away from becoming Bethune-Cookman’s all-time leading rusher. Senior wide out Eddie Poole will look to continue his consecutive game pass-catching streak. No word yet on who will start under center for BCU but expect to see multiple signal callers during the course of today’s action.
Defensively, linebacker Jarkevis Fields and defensive end LeBrandon Richardson paced the Cats with 10 tackles apiece last week. Defensive tackle Tevin Toney proved to be a disruptive force in the interior adding 7 tackles of his own including 2 tackles-for-loss. The Wildcat defense should have little trouble in establishing a new line of scrimmage and pressuring the VUU attack.
Hidden Yards Kudos
Perhaps an “under the radar” bright spot from last week’s contest were the BCU return units. Freshman kick returner Darian Baker averaged 35.5 yards per kick return (long of 41) and Preston Cleckley averaged over 20 yards per punt return (long of 34) in last week’s matchup. It was a small sampling but so far, so good in the all-important “hidden yards” department. Another “hidden yards” category in which BCU thrived in week one was the penalty department. The Wildcats limited themselves to just 5 penalties for 35 yards. Let’s hope BCU continue to show improvement in these “hidden yards” categories in this game and throughout the course of the season.
We are also excited to see the new, more energized and better organized student-led cheer section known as the “Wildcat Crazies”. Face-paint, body suits, and organized pandemonium, let’s see what you Crazy-Cats have in store for us this season.
WACO, Texas – Bethune-Cookman football head coach Brian Jenkins has been named as this year’s American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Football Championship Subdivision Region Two Coach of the Year announced Monday morning by the AFCA office.
Recently completing his third year at the helm in Daytona Beach, Jenkins shares this year’s award with Stony Brook’s Chuck Piore who led his team to the second round of the FCS Playoffs. For Jenkins, this is the second time in the last three years he has won the award for Region Two, also picking up the honor in 2010.
Jenkins, the 2012 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Coach of the Year, led the Wildcats to an MEAC title and the first undefeated conference season for the Maroon and Gold since 1984. This past season, the Wildcats went 9-3 (8-0 MEAC) and played host to Coastal Carolina in the opening round of the FCS Playoffs at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach. It was the second MEAC title for the Cats under Jenkins – the fifth of its kind in school history – and they played host to an FCS Playoff competition for the third time in the past 10 years.
Since his arrival in Daytona Beach, Jenkins has compiled an overall record of 27-8, and an unprecedented 21-3 mark in league play. He has helped the Wildcats to two MEAC titles, two FCS Playoff appearances and been named the MEAC Coach of the Year twice.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It was announced Wednesday that Bethune-Cookman University Football will join the nation in spreading the message about breast cancer awareness this weekend when the Wildcats host Norfolk State to Municipal Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m.
Already billed as the Second Annual Biker Classic, the game will also serve as the Wildcats’ contest to show support continuing research for breast cancer.
Head football coach Brian Jenkins and his team will host an auction for a limited edition pink Bethune-Cookman football helmet through BCUathletics.com, as well as at the stadium throughout the first half of the game. Bids for the helmet will begin Thursday at 9 a.m. In addition, donations will be collected throughout Saturday’s game from fans in attendance.
The Wildcats football team will also wear pink towels and wristbands during the game.
All proceeds from the auction and donations will go towards supporting breast cancer awareness and research.
At the request of Coach Jenkins, breast cancer survivors will lead the Legacy Walk.
Limited edition Bethune-Cookman Football breast cancer awareness shirts are on sale at the B-CU Box Office for just $5. Fans may also purchase a combo pack with a shirt and a ticket with admittance to the game in the Cat Zone for just $10. Order your shirt and tickets now by clicking here, or by calling (386) 481-2465.
DAYTONA BEACH — Although practices start in a month and tickets are already on sale, Bethune-Cookman University’s football team still doesn’t have an agreement with the city to use Municipal Stadium this fall for games.
“We’re having frank discussions,” said Lynn Thompson, Bethune-Cookman’s athletic director. “At this point we’ve had a couple of meetings. We want to put this behind us.”
The city proposed a $3 per ticket surcharge, the same proposal that was rejected last year, and Bethune-Cookman said no again.
“We’re waiting for a response,” Thompson said. “We want a figure and a process that works for everybody.”
The city is going through the college’s counter proposal, which includes some creative ideas such as Bethune-Cookman officials and athletes volunteering at the new Midtown Cultural and Educational Center and putting on free football camps for kids. The city should have a reply soon and then another meeting should be held soon after that, Percy Williamson, the city’s leisure services director, said this week.