Bison win come from behind thriller

In another first for Howard football, it was the first time that Howard Bison defeated the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats at home since 1996. The Bison started off in conference play with a win for the first time since the 2012-2013 season. Howard proved their win over UNLV was not a stroke of luck by winning a hard-fought contest over Bethune-Cookman.

Early on, the game was a back and forth affair with both teams scoring often. The Wildcats started the scoring with a touchdown early in the first quarter after a 20-yard touchdown run by Larry Brihm. Howard answered back with one of the more interesting touchdowns you’ll hear about. Caylin Newton on a goal line carry fumbled the ball into the endzone, but it was recovered by Guy Lemonier Jr for a touchdown. The Wildcats answered back with a methodical 11 play 70-yard touchdown drive punctuated by a 23-yard strike from Brihm to Frank Brown. Howard not to be outdone scored on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Newton to Anthony Philyaw. Both teams went into halftime optimistic with the score tied at 14 apiece.

The Bison offense finally gave Howard its first lead of the game on a Newton QB sneak for a touchdown. The Bison would go on to miss the extra point, the bison were plagued on by special team’s miscues today; missing two field goals and one two-point conversion. The Wildcats then went on what seemed to be a game clinching run, after they scored 10 unanswered points. Those unanswered points were facilitated by 24-yard touchdown run by Que’shaun Byrd and a field goal by Uriel Hernandez.

Read on here.

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Week Two All HAILS…..

 

As we prepare to look ahead at Bethune-Cookman’s Week 3 matchup with FBS opponent Florida Atlantic, let’s first reflect back on a few things that deserve an “All Hail” from the Wildcats’ impressive road win over Southland Conference foe Southeastern Louisiana.

ALL HAIL Larry Brihm and the passing offense! Brihm finished the evening 25/39 for 354 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air. Brihm also added a 1 yard rushing score which proved to be the game winner with 6:04 remaining in the 4th. The performance was good enough to earn the senior quarterback MEAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors. Senior wide out Jawill Davis and junior Keavon Mitchell both eclipsed the 100 yard receiving mark. Davis registered 7 receptions for 138 yards and 1 TD while Mitchell recorded 6 grabs for 125 including a 47 yarder on the Wildcats opening drive which set up a Brihm to Anthony Cruz 11 yard hook up for the game’s first score.

 

ALL HAIL the BCU secondary. Trevor Merritt, Diquan Richardson and Elliott Miller reinforced their “no fly zone” moniker by each picking off a pass in Saturday’s contest. The BCU secondary locked down the SLU receivers and permitted a pedestrian 93 passing yards on the evening.

 

Defense….Defense- It wasn’t just the secondary who impressed on the defensive side of the ball. The entire squad deserves an ALL HAIL Salute! The Wildcat D only surrendered one touchdown on the evening. The other SLU TD came on a 92 yard kickoff return (#fixthat). Yogi Jones unit came up with several huge stops including the 3 picks by Merritt, Richardson and Miller and by limiting the Lions to a field goal after turning the ball over on its own 9 yard line. The biggest defensive stand came in the final minutes of the contest when the Wildcat D kept the Lions out of the endzone with 1:27 remaining and preserved a 28-23 win. Familiarize yourself with the name Uriah Gilbert. The 6’3”, 325 pound freshman, hailing from Ocala’s Trinity Catholic High School, helped control Southeastern’s inside rushing attack. Gilbert finished the contest with 7 tackles (including 1 for a loss). Gilbert has a lot of the same qualities as did former Wildcat DT Demarcus Womack. Linebacker Alexander Morales paced BCU with 9 tackles.

 

ALL HAIL the Southeastern Louisiana fan base. Well, almost all of the fan base. There was that one shirtless dude walking around on the visitor’s side showing his drawers and picking fights but he was the outlier. The other SLU fans were amazing. There must have been a dozen SLU fans who congratulated me on the win after the contest. They were extremely complimentary of the guys in maroon and gold and they expressed genuine concerned about the looming arrival of Hurricane Irma in Florida. The Lion fan base wished us well in weathering the storm and in the remaining contests this season. #SouthernHospitality

Speaking of Southern Hospitality. Big ups…check that…ALL HAIL Southern University for allowing Terry Sims and his squad to use their facilities this week because of travel delays associated with Hurricane Irma. Thanks for the HBCU love and hospitality.

 

No ALL HAILS to the three turnovers committed by the offense or the 14 penalties for 132 yards collected by the squad. If the Wildcats can address the turnover and penalty issues adequately, an upset win over next week’s FBS opponent FAU is not out of the question. The contest gets underway at 6:30pm at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton. You can join us in  supporting the Fighting Wildcats by hopping on the HailWildcats.com Fan Bus. Click here for more details.

Wildcats Weather Storm to Beat SELA 28-23


The Bethune-Cookman football team stepped into Strawberry Stadium in Hammond, Louisiana with their hearts filled with the looming threat of Hurricane Irma bearing down on their loved ones back home in Florida. By night’s end, BCU weathered a different kind of storm overcoming 3 turnovers, a rash of penalties and a 4th quarter deficit to defeat Southeastern Louisiana 28-23.

Larry Brihm’s 1 yard TD plunge with 6:04 remaining in the contest capped an 11 play, 72 yard scoring drive and secured the win for the good guys. Brihm finished the contest with 354 yards passing, 2 touchdowns through the air and 1 rushing TD.

The Wildcats marched 78 yards on their opening drive and scored the game’s first points when WR Anthony Cruz caught an 11 yard TD pass from Brihm.

SELA cut the lead to 7-3 courtesy of a Dillion Burkhard 32 yard field goal but the Wildcats answered with another long first quarter scoring drive; this on covering 88 yards in 9 plays and ending with a 4 yard Michael Jones TD run. Unfortunately for BCU, they wouldn’t score again until trailing 16-14 in the 4th quarter.

Untimely penalties and turnovers almost foiled BCU’s bid to defeat a quality out of conference foe on the road. A quick peek at the box score reveals the Wildcats loss 2 fumbles, threw 1 interception and were flagged 14 times for 132 yards. As good as Brihm performed with his arm, he was also responsible for all three of BCU’s turnovers. These types of miscues can be calamitous but the Brihm and the Wildcats were able to overcome them.

The Beach Cats racked up 482 yards of total offense (354 passing, 128 rushing) while holding SELA to just 291 yards of total offense. Jawill Davis and Keavon Mitchell finished the afternoon with 138 and 125 yards receiving respectively. Michael Jones pitched in with 122 yards of offense (95 on the ground and 27 receiving). Davis also hauled in a 2 yard touchdown reception with 11:00 remaining in the 4th. The TD grab resulted in BCU’s first points of the second half and pushed the Cats back ahead 21-16.

Defensive backs Trevor Merritt, Diquan Ricardson and Elliott Miller all snagged interceptions in the contest. Miller’s was the most spectacular of the bunch. He ran stride for stride with the SELA receiver before laying out and securing the pick with a one hand snatch. #GiveMeThat

The defense held SELA to under 100 yards passing but the biggest defensive sequence of the night came on the final stand in the game’s closing minutes. SELA, trailing 28-23, drove the ball to the BCU 47 yard line late in the 4th. The Wildcat D stopped SELA on downs with under 3 minutes remaining but a bogus defensive pass interference call gave the Lions new life and placed the ball at the BCU 35 yard line. Thankfully that was as far as the Lions would get as the Cats held and forced a turnover on downs, this time a legitimate stand. The offensive unit was able to run out the clock and secure Bethune’s first victory of the season.

Bethune travel to South Florida next week to take on FAU. As always, HailWildcats will be there bringing you the sights and sounds.

Wildcats fall to Miami 41-13

Mark Walton Jr. and the 18th ranked Miami Hurricanes were too much to handle for the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on Saturday afternoon.  Walton rushed for 148 yards and two touchdowns and helped “The U” secure a 41-13 win over their FCS foe.

Despite the loss, Bethune exit the game with cause for optimism.

  • Larry Brihm looked poised and in complete control of the offense. In fact, Brihm connected on his first 9 pass attempts and finished the afternoon 22 of 35 for 212 yards.
  • The Wildcat offense showed great versatility under the direction of new offensive coordinator Allen Suber. BCU finished the afternoon with 350 total yards of offense. The one downside with the O were the 5 delay of game penalties called against them.
  • Defensively, the Wildcats matched Miami’s speed.
  • BCU DBs were in great coverage position all game. (Although Miami receivers made some excellent plays on the ball.

Terry Sims squad showed enough on Saturday to make Wildcat fans start to dream of Atlanta. Sure it was in a losing effort and it’s only one game but the early impression is the 2017 Wildcats should have enough to compete for a MEAC crown.

Get in the Books Son

It was a bit of a surprise to see Larry Brihm trot out and start the game on Saturday. Not because Brihm is not capable but because Sims named Akevious Williams as the starting quarterback earlier this week at his weekly press conference. Williams did not play because of an academic issue according to reports. The word is Williams’ issues should be sorted out this week and he is expected to play in the Cats next game.

Deuce-Deuce

Former BCU great, Eddie Poole, twitted today “#22 is the best player on the field (for BCU) any time he is out there.” Diquan Richardson held up his end of the bargain by pacing the Wildcats with 11 tackles (7 solo). He also had a HUGE pop on special teams when he ran 40+ yards at full speed and knocked the UM receiver into next week. Not a bad outing from #22.

Mike Jonessssssss

Bethune-Cookman registered one touchdown against Miami. The touchdown happened midway through the 3rd quarter when  Michael Jones powered the ball pass the goal line on a 1-yard run. Jones finished the day with 43 yards rushing and 51 yards receiving.  It was his first action since 2015 after missing last year with a foot injury.

When your child was born in the 90s

Did you know BCU has a running back named  Tupac (Isme), a receiver named Shakur (Nesmith), and a lineman named Montel Jordan? Coincidence?…..We think not!!

The Wildcats hit the road next week when they take on FCS foe Southeast Louisiana.

Resurge…. 2017 Preview

Credits: BCU Athletics

Resurge……“a rising again into prominence.”

That’s the way Merriam-Webster defines it. In Daytona Beach, Terry Sims hopes to define it as “the return to the summit of MEAC football” as Bethune-Cookman look to amend last year’s sub .500 record and return to the form that saw the Wildcats capture a share of the conference crown in Sims’ first season in 2015.

The “Resurge” theme is attached to everything BCU football. Players and coaches all wear T-shirts with the simple message. It’s on the BCU Athletics webpage. It’s plastered over @BCUGridiron social media sites. In just a little while, we get to see if it is visible in the most important of places…… on the field of play.

There is good cause for the heightened optimism heading into the season. The Wildcats return 8 starters on offense, 7 starters on defense and all of their return specialist from a season ago.

Quarterbacks

Offensively BCU was sluggish and disheveled for far too many long stretches in 2016. New offensive coordinator and former Wildcat great Allen Suber will look to remedy that by picking up the tempo and adding a few more wrinkles to this year’s offense. He will get a boost at his former position in the form of returning experienced signal callers Arkevious Williams and Larry Brihm. Williams will get the nod as the week one starter but we expect both he and Brihm to share snaps throughout the course of the season. Whether it’s a shared responsibility or someone steps up and claims the position as their own, production at the quarterback position is a must if BCU wishes to RESURGE.

Mike Jones

Running backs

The do-it-all Michael Jones was a Preseason 1st Team All-MEAC selectee in 2016 but missed the entire season with a foot injury. Jones, who can run with power, run with speed and catch the ball out of the backfield, seems to be back at full health. If Jones is fully recovered from his injury, the running game should be much improved. Jamaruz Thompkins, Camron Rigby and Tupac Isme all saw significant minutes due to Jones’ injury last year and each will vie for carries and look to redeem their time in the crowded backfield.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

The receiver position is perhaps the best and deepest position on the field for BCU. Frank Brown and Jawill Davis individually are as good as any receivers in the conference. As a tandem, it would be hard to argue that you will find a better duo in the MEAC. Brown has above average hands and good route running ability while Davis is more of the traditional speed receiver who can take the top off defenses. Add to the mix junior receiver Keavon Mitchell and converted quarterback Anthony Cruz and you have a bevy of dynamic receivers who are electric with the ball in their hands. Ja-Quan Lumas is an outstanding pass catching tight end. Look for Lumas to move around more in Suber’s offense and try to present match up issues for the opposition.

Offensive Line

The immediate impression you get when looking at this year’s offensive line is they are still big but a lot leaner than in years past. I mean don’t get me wrong, there are still some “big-uns” up front with guys like Job Buisserth who checks in at 6’4”, 315. However, you’re likely to see some lineman like Jerry Beauchamp play 40 pounds lighter than Buisserth. There seems to be more of a primacy  on technique, footwork and mobility as opposed to sheer girth and size from the guys up front.

Defensive Line

Defensive ends Kevin Thompson and Todney Evans anchor the defensive lines. Thompson and Evans offer great athleticism and speed coming off the edge. The biggest question mark for Earl Lane’s defensive front will be trying to replace DeMarcus Womack’s behemoth size and production. Dishawn Ray and Malik Slaughter offer the size and experience; let’s just hope they offer similar production.

Linebacker

The linebacker corps must improve from a season ago. It is as simple as that. Trenton Bridges is a really good football player at middle linebacker but there was a noticeable drop off after Bridges in 2016. Alexander Morales had to be moved from safety to outside linebacker to stabilize the position in the middle of last year. Thankfully Morales made his share of plays and we are hoping he can continue his maturation at the position. Marquis Hendrix is another guy who has a chance to solidify his name as a playmaker at linebacker. Hendrix originally signed with Boise State and he has all of the physical attributes needed to excel at the position. Veion Robinson, Atreyu Farrior and Deonte Mayo all saw frequent action at linebacker last year but all need to show improvement in their positioning, finishing of plays and consistency.

A Williams and D Richardson

Secondary

Diquan Richardson, Arthur Williams and Elliott Miller are all returning starters and good players in the secondary. The veterans will look to anchor a defense who finished middle of the pack in the MEAC in both scoring (25.2ppg) and total defense (349.2 ypg).

Outlook

There is a lot riding on this season for Bethune-Cookman. A successful campaign could very well see the Wildcats “Resurge” and reestablish their dominance in the conference. However, another mediocre year could spell trouble for the years ahead.

The pieces are all in place for the Wildcats to compete for another MEAC crown. They return all of their key offensive skill players from last year’s squad including their leading passer, leading rusher and leading receiver. A similar thing can be said about the defense as the top tackler, edge rushers, and cover men all return. The teams picked ahead of BCU all have their own share of serious question marks heading into the year too:

  • NCCU must replace QB Malcom Bell and several other key performers;
  • NCA&T graduated Tarik Cohen;
  • SCSU is still unsettled at the quarterback position;
  • Etc.

When you add all of this up, it says the path to the MEAC crown is more open than the claim to the Iron Throne in King’s Landing. It is not a stretch to argue Bethune-Cookman can bounce back and earn a trip to Atlanta by winning it’s 6th MEAC crown in 8 years. The crazy thing is we can also envision a very real scenario in which BCU finishes around the .500 mark again. The Cats open the year with 4 straight road games including games against FBS opponents Miami (Florida) and Florida Atlantic in the first three weeks. Sandwiched between the FBS games is an out of conference matchup with Southeast Louisiana.

For the sake of all that is maroon and gold, we hope to see the former of the two scenarios.

It all begins at 12:30 P.M. Saturday, September 2nd when BCU take on 18th ranked Miami at Hard rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

 

BETHUNE-COOKMAN WILDCATS

LOCATION: Daytona Beach, Florida

STADIUM: Memorial Stadium

COACH: Terry Sims (13-8, two seasons)

2016 RECORDS: 4-6, 4-4 MEAC (Tie/5th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 15 (8 offense/7 defense)

KEY LOSSES: Trevin Huff, OL; DeMarcus Womack, DE

 

SCHEDULE:

Sept. 2, at Miami (Florida)

Sept. 9, at Southeastern Louisiana

Sept. 16, at Florida Atlantic

Sept. 23, at Howard*

Sept. 30, Savannah State*

Oct. 14, South Carolina State*

Oct. 21, at North Carolina A&T*

Oct. 28, Hampton*

Nov. 4, Morgan State*

Nov. 11, at North Carolina Central*

Nov. 18, Florida A&M* (at Camping World Stadium, Orlando)

* – MEAC game