The North Carolina Central Eagles entered Saturday’s contest with a perfect record in MEAC play and looked to shock the HBCU football world by upsetting conference power Bethune-Cookman. The Eagles played BCU evenly for two and a half quarters and grabbed their first lead (17-14) of the afternoon on an Oleg Parent 23 yard field goal with just over 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter. But the Wildcats scored 28 unanswered points from that point forward and emerged from Saturday’s ‘Battle of conference unbeatens’ with a 42-17 victory and sole possession of first place in the conference.
The Wildcats opened the game’s scoring on Andronicus Lovette’s 1 yard plunge into the endzone in the first quarter. The scoring drive was kept alive after quarterback Brock Waters hit KJ Stroud on an 11 yard reception to move the sticks on 4th and long.
The Eagles went three and out on their next possession, but BCU return man, Courtney Keith, fumbled the ensuing punt and set NCCU up inside the red zone. Central drew even 2 plays later when Jordan Reid connected with Detwan Robinson on a 15 yard touchdown pass.
BCU extended the lead to 14-7 when Quentin Williams and Preston Cleckley hooked up for a 76 yard TD reception. Cleckley ran a stop and go route and was wide open on the play. “Sometimes you get anxious on balls like that (when you’re so wide open) and those can be the hardest passes to catch” Cleckley stated after the contest.
Central tied the score at 14 on another Jordan Reid touchdown throw. This time a 28 yard TD reception to Decona Roberts.
NCCU’s first lead of the contest came after Oleg Parent kicked a 23 yard field goal midway through the 3rd quarter.
From that point forward, it was all BCU. The Wildcats rattled off 28 unanswered points to end the contest. Included amongst those scores was a 93 yard touchdown run by Isidore Jackson. Jackson ended the contest with 158 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. BCU rushed for 274 yards on the afternoon and racked up over 200 more yards of total offense than NCCU (443-234).
Quentin Williams did not start the contest, but lead the team in passing going 6-15 for126 yards (1 touchdown, 1 interception).
Jarkevis Fields and Dawud Lane each had 10 tackles on defense while DJ Howard and Rashad Payne both added interceptions. The BCU defense now has at least one interception in each of the past 15 games.
The Wildcats now have sole-possession of the first place in the conference. BCU faces Morgan State next week in Baltimore, Maryland at 1:00 P.M.