It is rare for a diehard college football fan to watch their favorite team lose by 57 points and still walk away feeling hopeful about the season. Yet here we are, feeling surprisingly optimistic after witnessing “The U” dismantle Bethune-Cookman 70-13 this past Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium. Perhaps some of that optimism is aided by the fact that Bethune’s two biggest rivals, FAMU and SCSU, also took woodshed beatings this weekend. Or maybe I just added that shade about FAMU and SCSU because I was being petty and misery loves company.
Either way, here is The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from this past weekend’s contest against “The U”!
Let’s start with the Ugly!
Money Game$. They are just an ugly but necessary reality of the college football universe. We understand why Money Game$ are scheduled. They provide an extra home game and the revenue that comes along with it for the FBS guys while the FCS guys collect a handsome paycheck and have the opportunity to showcase themselves against the big boys. Sometimes the FCS guys collect the paycheck and collect the win as was the case for BCU against FIU in 2013 and 2014. Unfortunately for our Wildcats, the only win they returned to Daytona Beach with this time around was the payday and the anecdotal projections about the remainder of the season.
The Hurricane offensive line was everything you would expect from a Mario Cristobal coached team. They were aggressive, disciplined and frankly too much to handle for the BCU front seven. Miami’s dominance at the line of scrimmage resulted in the Canes scoring touchdowns on every offensive possession save one which ended in a fumble and a second that ran out the clock to end the contest.
The Wildcat kickoff coverage unit has to be better. Miami’s offense started two drives in plus territory and one near midfield after Key’Shawn Smith returned three BCU kickoffs 70 yards, 42 yards and 66 yards respectively. You simply cannot put your defense in that type of predicament against good competition and expect to win.
It was Isaiah Bolden’s 94 yard kick return touchdown to begin the second half that sealed BCU’s fate against Jackson State last year. The return team will either need to cover kicks better, kick the ball out of the endzone or kick it out of bounds.
Speaking of special teams miscues, the Wildcats had a short field goal attempt blocked as well. The better news is we are only in week one and special teams miscues typically diminish as the season rolls along.
Bethune- Cookman’s offense left us with many reasons to be optimistic.
Jalon Jones looked good under center. Jones, a former four-star recruit and University of Florida signee, earned the starting nod at quarterback. At day’s end, Jones racked up 243 yards passing, 15 rushing yards and tossed a 34 yard TD to Que’shaun Byrd. The Virginia native looked in command of the offense and did a good job of keeping plays alive with his feet.
BCU finished the contest with 342 yards of total offense. That’s not too bad. Perhaps more impressively, the Wildcat offense collected seven explosive plays of 20 yards or more. Marcus Riley flashed with the first big play, racking up 24 yards on a catch and run on 3rd down and 23 early in the first quarter. Riley, also a former four-star recruit, looked like he belonged on the field against the 16th ranked Hurricanes. We are hoping to see the ball in his hands more as the season progresses.
Dylaan Lee led Bethune in receiving yards and catches hauling in 5 receptions for 83 yards. Darryl Powell got his name on the stat sheet pulling in two grabs one of which was a 48 yarder from Jones.
Offensive Coordinator, Mike Canels, did a good job with the offensive scheme,and had the Cats executed better on two or three more plays, they could have put up even more points offensively.
The best news for Bethune is that there are no more FBS teams on the schedule. All of their goals are still in front of them. Former MEAC foe South Carolina State visits “Da Beach” this Saturday. The Bulldogs are the reigning Black College National Champions and are also looking to rebound after a one sided loss at the hands of a FBS opponent. UCF handed SCSU a 56-10 drubbing on Thursday night.
Please come out and support the good guys this Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00pm at Daytona Stadium.