Behind Enemy Lines – 5 Insights from a Jackson State Fan

JSU

Photo Credits: Mississippi Today

Each week, Hail Wildcats will venture behind enemy lines and bring you insights from fans of Bethune-Cookman’s opponents.

This week, we hear from a Jackson State fan who is affectionately known as NastyD. Before you ask, the answer is “no”, we did not ask what the D stands for. The interesting moniker notwithstanding, NastyD is a passionate JSU fan, graduate and supporter who was kind enough to provide us with his insights on the Tiger program and this weekend’s matchup against our beloved Wildcats.

 

HW Question 1. Jackson State sported one of the nation’s top defenses (24.5 ppg) in 2018 but suffered through a less than stellar offensive campaign (16.5 ppg). Have there been any signs coming out of Fall camp that point to the defense maintaining their high standard and the offense improving?

JSU Fan:

“The defense will definitely maintain its dominance. We (JSU) finished 2nd in the SWAC in total defense with an offense that finished 9th overall. Just think how much better we would be as a football team when (not if) we start sustaining drives on offense. Regarding the offense, there have been many signs from Fall camp that suggest they should be much improved. The RBs were the strength of the team the past few years but now we finally guys at QB who (passed the ball) effectively throughout camp.

In addition to 4 star transfer QB Jalon Jones, we brought in two 4 star receivers, DD Bowie and Daniel Crowell, who both had strong camps. Not only that, we will run a RPO offense which better suits our personnel. We also upgraded our offensive coaching staff with additions like Ron Dickerson Jr (OC), TC Taylor (QB coach) and Otis Ridley (offensive line coach).”

 

HW Question 2. The University of Florida 4 star transfer, Jalon Jones, has a lot of hype surrounding him at the quarterback position. However, Derrick Ponder is the only guy at the position to start a college football game and Matt Little, Western Michigan transfer, is fighting for playing time as well. Two questions: (a) who is likely to be the primary signal caller come Sunday against Bethune; and (b) what do you anticipate from the quarterback position overall?

JSU Fan:

“Matt Little is no longer in the equation. However, JSU brought in a 3 star QB from the Memphis area named Quinn Casey who’s pushing both Ponder and Jalon for playing time. My thoughts are Ponder will start because he has more collegiate experience and a better grasp of the offense since he went through spring training, summer workouts, and fall camp but Ponder will be given a very short leash. Jalon will be the starter (in due time). Our offensive line is much improved which should benefit the quarterbacks. The QB position has been one of the reasons we have been unsuccessful the past few years. I feel (that position has been) addressed and it will be a strength this season.”

 

HW Question 3. Is there a player or perhaps a position on the field you expect to have a breakout year in 2019?

JSU Fan:

“I expect wide receivers Warren Newman and DD Bowie (Ole Miss transfer) to have  breakout seasons. Jalon Jones will be newcomer of the year. On defense, 4 star recruit Demetrice Vance Jr will have a monster season at safety. And I expect mid year transfer Vincent McIntosh to have a breakout season at DT.”

 

HW Question 4. We all know sophomore Keonte Hampton is a stud at linebacker. For those MEAC and BCU fans who have only read about him, how good is Keonte and how high is his ceiling? Are there any other players on the defensive side of the ball you expect to shine and perform at a really high level?

JSU Fan:

Keonte Hampton is a gem. We are talking about a guy who completely balled out as a freshman last year and led the team in tackles. He has a knack for sniffing out the football and blowing up plays. He is a student of the game. We brought in a new strength and conditioning coach this season who has been absolutely phenomenal for the program. Keonte has put on more muscle so I’m excited to see how he wreaks havoc this season. Other guys to look out for on defense are Khalil Johnson and CJ Anderson on the defensive line and Ryan Theyard and CJ Holmes in the secondary.

 

HW Question 5. Answer the following, Jackson State will defeat Bethune-Cookman if …

JSU Fan:

Jackson State will beat BCU if the offense shows signs of improvement from last year. If we are able to get first downs (which I believe we will) and give the defense recovery time, there is no doubt we will win this game. People forget we beat teams like FAMU and Prairie View last season whom most thought were very dynamic offensively.

Cookman doesn’t perform well against teams with good defenses so my prediction is JSU 27 BCU 13.

A special thanks to NastyD for taking the time to provide his insights.

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The Hailwildcats.com X’s and O’s Show

GREETINGS WILDCAT FANS!

Back by popular demand for another season is your Hailwildcats.com X’s and O’s Show!

The “Hailwildcats.com X’s and O’s Show” hosted by the Hailwildcats.com Arm Chair QB’s airs Thursday evenings at 8:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. on Joy 106.3 on your FM dial and online at http://www.joy1063fm.com! First show is Thursday August 29th, 2019!

The “Hailwildcats.com X’s and O’s Show” is a live one and a half hour fan interactive , no holds-barred sports radio talk show with a large focus on Bethune Cookman Football Past and Present, upcoming BCU football matchups, news around the MEAC, local Volusia county High School football activities and keeping BCU fans updated with the latest information from the gridiron including recruiting. The Arm Chair QBs, engage and provide the latest information to keep you in the game. With over 50 years of combined coaching and football experience, the Arm Chair QB’s are the creators, radio hosts, and voices of the “Hailwildcats.com X’s and O’s Show”and  maintain a solid and expert approach to each show. Got a question or want your opinion heard, join us for our Fans “TURN UP THE VOLUME” live call in segment from 9:05-9:30 by dialing (386) 463-CATS (2287)!

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HAIL WILDCATS!

BCU and JSU prepare for season opener in MEAC/SWAC Challenge

For the second consecutive year, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) season will kick off in Atlanta.  

All eyes will be on Georgia State Stadium on Sept. 1 as representatives from the Mid-Eastern Conference and the Southwestern Conference compete in the 15th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge.  

The MEAC has won nine of the 14 games played. Last year, Prairie View A&M defeated North Carolina Central to open the 2018 season.  

This season, an old rivalry is renewed as the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats square off against the Jackson State Tigers. The schools will meet for the first time since 1989. The Tigers hold a 4-2 series lead.  

Bethune-Cookman is making its fourth appearance in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. This is Jackson State’s first appearance since 2008.  

Read on…

Top 5 Victories of Sims Era

To all of the ‘armchair quarterbacks’, ‘expert second-guessers’ and ‘guys who think they know more about football than those who actually get paid for it’; I have excellent news for you. Our busy season is upon us. By this time next week, we get to fuss, yell and rave over our first 2019 results and I cannot wait.

Before we look ahead at the season to come, let’s first look back at some of Bethune’s best moments under now fifth year head coach Terry Sims. Here are the Wildcats’ Top 5 Victories under Terry Sims as ranked by the staff at HailWildcats.com.

 

  1. Wildcats Weather Storm to Beat Southeastern Louisiana University on the Road (2017)

The Bethune-Cookman football team stepped into Strawberry Stadium in Hammond, Louisiana with their hearts filled pending 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 Southland Conference foe Southeastern Louisiana 28-23.

The Wildcats racked up 482 yards of total offense in the contest including 354 yards passing from Larry Brihm. Despite the offensive explosion and the defense limiting SELA to under 300 yards of total offense, Sims men entered the 4th quarter trailing 16-14. Brihm connected with Jawill Davis for a 2 yard touchdown reception at the 11:00 mark and ran for a 1 yard touchdown with 4:34 left on the clock to push BCU ahead for good 28-26.

Defensive backs Trevor Merritt, Diquan Richardson and Elliott Miller all snagged interceptions in the contest with Miller’s coming via the one handed variety. The Wildcat defense sealed the contest by turning over SELA on downs with 1:27 left on the game clock.

It was a great win, against a quality opponent, under adverse circumstances.

 

  1. Oh Hail Mary…Oh Hail Yeah (2017)

The 2017 matchup against North Carolina Central was an ugly game for 59 minutes and 57 seconds. The game was sloppy, the score at halftime was 0-0 and our beloved Wildcats only amassed 178 yards of total offense while racking up 8 penalties for 100 yards. That’s bad…but like so many of the recent BCU vs NCCU contests, the final seconds were filled with drama. Central scored its first touchdown of the evening with 16 seconds remaining giving them what seemed to be a certain victory. However, on the game’s final play from scrimmage, quarterback Larry Brihm rolled to his left, fired up a 48 yard Hail Mary and had his prayer answered in the hands of Keavon Mitchell.

The Wildcats escaped another visit to Durham with a last second 13-10 dramatic win.

 

  1. FAMU’s Title Hope’s Crushed as BCU Secures 8th Straight Florida Classic Win (2018)

So here is the scene: the Mighty Rattlers from the Highest of Seven Hills entered the 2018 Florida Blue Florida Classic with a shot to earn a share of the MEAC crown and punch their first ever ticket to the Celebration Bowl. All that stood in between them and Atlanta was 11 yards of contested field, 52,142 screaming fans and a Bethune-Cookman team that had defeated them seven straight years.

This was a dream scenario for FAMU. This is why we love sports. These are the moments athletes dream about night after night, year after year, practice after practice. Unfortunately, for FAMU, some dreams do not come true and turn into the nightmares instead.

Trailing by 7 points, the FAMU offense drove to the BCU 11 yard line with 17 seconds remaining in the game. FAMU quarterback Ryan Stanley was forced outside of the pocket by BCU’s Marcus Ford and tossed a pass into the flat. The Wildcat’s Tydarius Peters had a beat on the quarterback, stepped in front of Stanley’s pass and returned it 90 yards untouched to secure the Wildcat’s 8th straight victory in the contest.

All Florida Classic victories are special but this was a little more so considering the dramatic ending and all that was on the line.

 

  1. NCCU Blocked…Well First there was a Goal line Stand and then BLOCKED (2015)

Like the #5 game on this list, this was another contest impacted by a fast approaching hurricane. The threat of inclement weather forced the 2015 matchup against North Carolina Central to be moved up a few hours. The soggy conditions led to a sloppy first half with BCU carrying a 7-6 lead into intermission.

Thankfully both teams grew into the game and the second half came to life with a six touchdown explosion . NCCU scored the first 3 touchdowns of the 3rd quarter while BCU ended the contest with the final 3 touchdowns. Quentin Williams hooked up with Jawill Davis for two 29 yard touchdowns but it was Michael Jones’ 6 yard run that put the Cats ahead 28-26.

Central had one last opportunity to overcome Bethune’s rally and drove the ball as deep as the 1 yard line on their final drive. The Central ball carrier’s helmet crossed the goal line but the Wildcats kept the ball from breaking the plane. The Eagles lined up for a go-ahead field goal that was shorter than an extra point. Easy right! Game over…’Not so fast my friend’ as Lee Corso would say.

Elliot Miller came off the edge and BLOCKED Central’s 16 yard field goal try.

So to recap, we had a change in game time, a 19-point deficit overturned, a goal line stand and a blocked chip shot field goal for the win. I think that is enough to qualify this as a great win.

 

  1. Never as Good as the First Time (2015)

Terry Sims first win as a head coach came on the hallowed grounds of Eddie Robinson Memorial Stadium, included 1047 yards of combined offense, 109 total points and a 56-53 win over Grambling State University. We are not exactly sure how Coach Sims dreamed up his first win but we are pretty sure it wasn’t like this.

Quarterbacks Quentin Williams (244) and Larry Brihm (219) combined to pass for 463 yards and six touchdowns. Meanwhile, Jawill Davis finished the contest with 8 receptions for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Williams started the game under center but an ineffective start and a hot GSU offense forced Coach Sims into a quarterback change in attempts of sparking his team. Brihm entered in relief and did just that.

The Wildcats and Tigers entered halftime tied 14-14 but that is when the real fun began. The G-Men wrestled back the momentum in the contest and pushed their second half advantage to 39-28. The Tigers strong play in the third quarter forced Sims to boldly but correctly switch quarterbacks again and Williams re-entered the game and quickly led the Wildcats on an eight play scoring drive. Less than two minutes later, Williams engineered another scoring drive giving BCU its first second half lead 41-39.

Bethune and Grambling exchanged leads for the remainder of the contest and combined for 81 points after intermission. Fortunately, for the visitors from Daytona, time expired while BCU was still leading 56-53.

The win helped propel Sims to his best ever record (9-2) and his only share of the MEAC title.

Sims and his men will look to secure another early season win over a SWAC opponent when they face off against Jackson State next Sunday, September 1st at 3:00pm in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. The Wildcats are 2-0 in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge claiming a 38-28 win over Alabama State in 2012 and a 63-14 victory over Prairie View A&M in 2011.

As always, HailWildcats.com will be there to bring you the best fan perspective of the 2019 football season.