Repost of “THE BELT”

The beltAt the conclusion of the 2012 Florida Blue Florida Classic, coach Brian Jenkins was seen hugging players, celebrating with the Marching Wildcats, and very conspicuously wearing a 2012 MEAC Champions Belt that was large enough and elaborate enough to make Hulk Hogan envy.

Some fifteen (15) or so minutes after first being spotted with his new ornate accessory, coach Jenkins met with members of the media for his normal postgame recap.  There it was again; this time prominently displayed on the conference room table almost touching the fiery coach’s left elbow.  There was no attempt at modesty.  No attempt to conceal it.  It was as if coach Jenkins was silently screaming for someone to ask about THE BELT…and so I did.

The third year coach rather foxily revealed that THE BELT was an inside thing between him and his team.  “I have been telling (our football team) about the belt.  You want to be the one to put on the belt in the end” Jenkins exclaimed.

At this past Saturday’s 2012 Championship Team Banquet inside the North Tower Ballroom at the Hilton Hotel located directly on Daytona Beach, coach Jenkins revealed to the 350 Wildcat supporters in attendance the inside story behind THE BELT.

The story goes as follows:

Shortly after being named as the fifteenth (15) head football coach at Bethune-Cookman, Brian Jenkins had a chance encounter with a Florida A&M football fan.  The FAMU fan approached the newly appointed coach and said let me show you something.  He reached into his back pocket and unfolded a piece of paper.  Listed on the paper were the results of all of the Florida Classics including the previous two (2); both of which FAMU won. 

The FAMU fan was undoubtedly sending a clear message to the precocious new coach of what he should expect when facing the mighty Rattlers.

As fate would have it, coach Jenkins bumped into the same Rattler fan nearly a year later.  The FAMU fan, feeling emboldened by his Rattlers’ upset victor over the Wildcats in the 2010 Florida Classic, even more vigorously than the year before flagged down coach Jenkins and again pulled out a folded piece of paper from his back pocket.  It was an up-to-date history of the Florida Classic results.  The FAMU fan proudly and boastfully pointed to his team’s upset win in 2010.  It was shortly after that encounter that the idea of THE BELT was conceived in Brian Jenkins’ mind.  Jenkins decided if his team could win the MEAC crown and win the Florida Classic, he would supply every graduating senior with his very own Championship Belt.

Senior Class awarded Championship Belts

Senior Class awarded Championship Belts

What better way to memorialize the hardwork, sacrifice, and dedication that’s required to become MEAC and Florida Classic champs than to provide the senior class with Championship Belts.  And besides, a Heavyweight caliber Championship Belt trumps a folded piece of paper any day.

Coach Jenkins’ statement to the media after the 2012 Florida Blue Florida Classic now makes so much more sense: “…in the end, you want to be the one to put on the belt.”

THE BELT is brilliant in everything that it represents.  It is the proverbial gauntlet slap in the face, a one-upper, a ‘step ya game up’ if you will.  It is a unique memento, it epitomizes excellence, symbolizes hardwork and sacrifice, and it is meant to draw a line in the sand.  If you want THE BELT, come and take it.  If you want to keep THE BELT, then be prepared to defend it.  So keep your folded piece of paper and I will raise you a Championship Belt.

Interestingly, coach Jenkins stated that the last time he spotted the FAMU fan who flagged him down and showed off his folded piece of paper was shortly after the 2010 season.  Coincidence? Maybe but not likely!

A source within the BCU Athletic department could not confirm whether THE BELT is a one year phenomenon or a new tradition for each senior class who wins both a MEAC and Florida Classic championship in the same season.  Personally, I hope this becomes a new tradition.  A new goal of sorts for each class of seniors.  I think coach Jenkins said it best: “in the end, you want to be the one to put on the belt”.

Congratulations to all the guys who earned the right to wear THE BELT!!!

Jenkins fined by MEAC for Critizing Officials

IMG_0941Bethune-Cookman head football coach Brian Jenkins has received a letter of reprimand and has been fined by the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference for his public comments concerning officiating following the Bethune-Cookman/North Carolina Central football game on Saturday, November 2, Commissioner Dennis Thomas announced today.

Coach Jenkins violated the MEAC’s Bylaw on criticizing officials which states that members of the coaching staffs, student-athletes, or other representatives of participating institutions shall not make public statements critical of officiating in any MEAC contests or events.

“It is unfortunate that Coach Jenkins decided to violate the conference’s policy on criticizing officials,” Thomas said.  “I hope that in the future that he will be in compliance with the policy.”

Top 5 B-CU/SCSU games in history

Suber man

Allen Suber – Onnidan.com

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.

Bethune-Cookman vs. South Carolina State–The best non-traditional rivalry in HBCU football???

On the huntWhat 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.

Non-Traditional Rivalry

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.”

Even Brian Jenkins ventured from his normal tight-lipped postgame rhetoric and repeatedly exclaimed his excitement about this weekend’s matchup after his team’s 48-21 dismantling of Savannah State.  Jenkins used the word “excited nine times in a 24 second span and stated  the game would be a “star-studded event.”

DSC_0119These Games Matter

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-traditional rivalry in HBCU football?

Who Will Ascend….at Delaware State

????????Thank God it’s Friday.  Not only has the busy workweek ended but we can finally get back to some good ol’ fashion Bethune-Cookman football after what seems like a forever-break.  The 3-1 Wildcats are fresh off a bye week and will travel to Dover this Saturday for a 2:00 kickoff against Delaware State (1-3).

DSU secured its first victory of the season a week ago slipping past Savannah State 24-22 on the road.  Senior quarterback Cory Murphy completed 8-19 passes for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns in the contest.  Murphy and the DSU offense sit atop the conference rankings in passing offense averaging 232.2 yards per game.  Despite their relative success through the air, the Hornets have managed to score a pedestrian 13 points per game through their first four contests.  They haven’t fared much better defensively in the scoring department where they are yielding an eye-popping 41 points per game.

To DSU’s credit, their schedule has been a brutal one and all 3 of the Hornet’s losses have come at the hands of Top 25 opponents (#1-North Dakota State (51-0), #3-Towson (49-7), and #24-Delaware (42-21)).  The not-so-good news for DSU is that BCU enters the contest ranked #21 in the Sports Network poll, #16 in the FCS Coaches poll, and undefeated in their last 13 MEAC matchups.  To make things worse for the Hornets, Preseason MEAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year, Isidore Jackson, is scheduled to return to the BCU backfield after missing the last two games due to what coach Brian Jenkins called in-house issues.  Jackson’s presence is sure to boost BCU’s already MEAC best rushing attack (234 ypg).  During Jackson’s absence, Anthony Jordan filled in more than adequately and now leads the MEAC in rushing yards (302 yards) and yards per carry (6.0).

De-fense

LeBrandon Richardson -HailWildcats.com

LeBrandon Richardson -HailWildcats.com

The BCU defense has become known for taking the ball away and pressuring the opposing quarterback under coordinator Yogi Jones’s guidance.  The Cats will look to turn up the heat on a Del State offense that has already turned the ball over 10 times (5 fumbles, 5 interceptions) and allowed 14 sacks this season.  BCU currently leads the conference in Total Defense (287.8 ypg), interceptions, and interception returns for scores.  Look for the Wildcat defense to have a big afternoon against the Delaware State attack if they perform up to their usual standards.

In the end, Bethune should have little problems taking care of business against Delaware State on Saturday.

Yes, we know that on any given Saturday upsets can occur and yes you must respect your opponent; but BCU is flat-out the better team, they are more physical in the trenches and they have superior athletes and depth across the board.  Vegas odds makers list the Wildcats as 20 point favorites.  We have no reason to believe that the Wildcats won’t match Vegas’ 3 touchdown prediction.

Wildcats ranked 18th/20th in latest FCS polls

Cary White rushes for a score against FIU

Cary White rushes for a score against FIU

Bethune-Cookman head into its bye-week losing one spot in both the FCS Coaches and SportsNetwork media polls.  The Wildcats currently sit 18th and 20th respectively in the each poll.

BCU registered an impressive 3-1 mark in the month of September with out-of-conference victories over Tennessee State of the Ohio Valley Conference and Florida International from FBS’ Conference USA.  The #8 ranked Florida State Seminoles handed BCU their lone defeat.

The Wildcats have won 14 straight MEAC contests and begin conference play after the bye-week when they head to Dover to take on Delaware State on October 5th.

Coaches Poll

TEAM SCHOOL (FIRST-PLACE VOTES) RECORD POINTS PREV- IOUS
1. North Dakota State (26) 3-0 650 1
2. Towson 4-0 616 3
3. Eastern Washington 2-1 598 4
4. Sam Houston State 3-1 573 5
5. Northern Iowa 3-0 531 7
6. South Dakota State 3-1 465 6
T-7. New Hampshire 2-1 460 9
T-7. Montana 3-0 460 11
9. McNeese State 4-0 409 13
10. Montana State 2-2 402 2
11. Coastal Carolina 4-0 372 15
12. Eastern Illinois 3-1 354 10
13. Central Arkansas 2-2 326 14
14. James Madison 3-1 283 16
15. Wofford 2-2 278 8
16. Fordham 4-0 217 21
17. Lehigh 3-0 214 18
18. Bethune-Cookman 3-1 179 17
19. Cal Poly 1-2 169 19
20. Richmond 2-2 156 20
21. Villanova 1-2 155 23
22. Northern Arizona 2-1 117 22
23. Stony Brook 1-2 107 12
24. Illinois State 1-2 80 24
25. Youngstown State 3-1 47 NR

Dropped out: No. 25 Maine.

Others receiving votes: Maine 46, Tennessee-Martin 44, Gardner-Webb 35, William & Mary 27, Jacksonville State 21, Portland State 15, Southern Utah 8, Delaware 7, Tennessee State 6, Harvard 5, Chattanooga 4, Stephen F. Austin 4, Indiana State 2, North Carolina A&T 1, Sacred Heart 1.

 

Noles Scalp Wildcats

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Despite a 48-point win, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher saw lots of room for improvement.

Quarterback Jameis Winston completed 10 of 19 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns, Devonta Freeman ran for 112 yards and a touchdown to lead the No. 8 Seminoles to a 54-6 win over Bethune-Cookman on Saturday night.

The defending ACC champions (3-0, 1-0) will want to clean up their offense before starting a seven-game stretch against conference foes next week.

“Had three or four dropped balls. Had two dropped touchdowns. We have a lot of room to grow,” Fisher said. “We have to clean a lot of things up. I just think it was a lack of focus. It was lack of concentration. It can happen to anybody, you have to stay focused.”

Winston entered the game with more touchdown passes (6) than incompletions (5). His highlight moment came when he scrambled from the B-C 11-yard line, spun out of a LeBrandon Richardson sack, kept his eyes downfield and connected with Benjamin for a touchdown.

Freeman had his second consecutive 100-yard game. Karlos Williams finished with 83 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and James Wilder, Jr. added 56 yards and a touchdown. Kenny Shaw tied Rashad Greene with a game-high four receptions. Shaw led all pass-catchers with 89 yards receiving.

The Wildcats (3-1) scored their lone touchdown off a seven-yard run from quarterback Jackie Wilson with 8:21 left in the third quarter.

“I feel as good as I can feel about a game like this,” Bethune-Cookman coach Brian Jenkins said. “We finished the game fighting, we finished the game strong.

“For me it’s some good and some bad too that we’ve got to get corrected.”

Florida State ran away in the second quarter and took a 33-0 lead into halftime, but all three starting receivers had dropped passes, including two for touchdowns. The defense also missed several tackles.

Both teams committed their share of unforced errors in an odd first half. Bethune-Cookman returner Darian Baker muffed two kickoffs that left the offense starting from the 2 and the 6. Tackle Alex Monroe was flagged for holding in the end zone to give the Seminoles a safety. Quarterback Quentin Williams stared down and pointed to receiver Eddie Poole just before Telvin Smith picked off the pass and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown.

Florida State receivers entered the game without a single drop this season, but that quickly changed. The usually sure-handed Greene dropped a pass in the first quarter. Kelvin Benjamin dropped a ball just outside of the end zone that would have been a score. Shaw also muffed one as he turned the corner towards the end zone just before halftime. Replay ruled it a drop instead of a fumble.

“It was a catch and I thought I was going to score,” Shaw said. “My eyes got big and I got excited. That happens in football, but we’re going to pick it up from here on out.”

Wilder, Jr. lost a fumble at the Bethune-Cookman 3. The defense even had its issues as missed tackles plagued the Seminoles.

Florida State held its opponent to a single score for the second consecutive game and was responsible for scoring nine points. The unit was down three starters as linebacker Christian Jones and defensive end Eddie Goldman were held out due to a violation of team rules. Defensive end Mario Edwards, Jr. sat out with a hand injury.

“We have to tackle in space better,” Fisher said. “I wasn’t happy with the way we tackled in space at times tonight. We have to do a better job.”

Telvin Smith posted a game-high 12 tackles and had his first sack of the season. The Seminoles’ three sacks matched their total from the first three games. Redshirt freshman defensive end Chris Casher finished with 10 tackles, including two for loss.

Team Stat Comparison

COOK

FSU

1st Downs 18 26
Total Yards 242 492
Passing 60 226
Rushing 182 266
Penalties 8-59 3-25
3rd Down Conversions 9-18 2-6
4th Down Conversions 0-0 0-0
Turnovers 1 1
Possession 35:59 24:01

Passing Leaders

Bethune-Cookman C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Wilson 5/10 37 3.7 0 0
Florida State C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Winston 10/19 148 7.8 2 0

Rushing Leaders

Bethune-Cookman CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Jordan 15 81 5.4 0 16
Wilson 12 41 3.4 1 10
Florida State CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Freeman 10 112 11.2 1 33
Williams 9 83 9.2 2 35

Receiving Leaders

Bethune-Cookman REC YDS AVG TD LG
Poole 3 46 15.3 0 23
Murphy 2 9 4.5 0 8
Florida State REC YDS AVG TD LG
Shaw 4 89 22.3 0 29
Greene 4 44 11.0 1 19

 

Cats too tough for Panthers

Credits: BCU Athletics

Credits: BCU Athletics

Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bethune-Cookman jumped to a 31-point halftime lead and added four second-half touchdowns to complete a 66-7 rout of Virginia Union on Saturday.

Bethune-Cookman (2-0) head coach Brian Jenkins relied on what he likes to call their three-headed monster at quarterback. Seniors Brodrick Waters and Jackie Wilson and junior Quentin Williams each threw a touchdown pass and combined to complete 13 of 20 passes for 182 yards.

Eight different receivers caught passes for the Wildcats, marking the first time that’s happened since 2010. Jontavious Carter had two touchdown receptions.

The Wildcats defense scored twice in the first half on interceptions by Nick Addison and Nesley Marcellon.

Eric Shaw led the Virginia Union (0-1) ground attack with 14 carries for 65 yards.

The game was first meeting between the two programs since the 1953 Tropical Bowl which Virginia Union won 13-0.

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTER  VIR COOK
FG 09:47 Jonathan Cagle 20 Yd 0 3
TD 05:39 Erik Williams 41 Yd Interception Return (Brodrick Waters Run For Two-Point Conversion) 0 11
TD 00:19 Quentin Williams 5 Yd Run (Pat Blocked) 0 17
SECOND QUARTER VIR COOK
VIR TD 08:04 Damon Kelly 1 Yd Run (Troy Krepich Kick) 7 17
TD 06:09 Cary White 1 Yd Run (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 24
TD 05:53 Nick Addison 38 Yd Interception Return (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 31
TD 03:32 Anthony Jordan 20 Yd Run (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 38
THIRD QUARTER VIR COOK
TD 11:25 Jontavious Carter 16 Yd Pass From Jackie Wilson (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 45
TD 03:05 Jontavious Carter 22 Yd Pass From Brodrick Waters (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 52
FOURTH QUARTER VIR COOK
TD 06:21 Drexler Dixon 12 Yd Run (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 59
TD 02:11 Michael Jones 16 Yd Pass From Quentin Williams (Jonathan Cagle Kick) 7 66

Team Stat Comparison

VIR

COOK

1st Downs 14 25
3rd down efficiency
6-16 8-11
4th down efficiency
1-4 0-2
Total Yards 182 464
Passing 87 182
Comp-Att
12-23 13-20
Yards per pass
3.8 9.1
Rushing 95 282
Rushing Attempts
45 44
Yards per rush
2.1 6.4
Penalties 7-74 10-68
Turnovers 3 1
Fumbles lost
0 0
Interceptions thrown
3 1
Possession 38:11 21:49

Virginia Union Passing

C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT
S. Dowdy 5/9 44 4.9 0 1
K. Graham 7/14 43 3.1 0 2
Team 12/23 87 3.8 0 3

Bethune-Cookman Passing

C/ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Q. Williams 4/5 73 14.6 1 1
J. Wilson 5/7 55 7.9 1 0
B. Waters 4/8 54 6.8 1 0
Team 13/20 182 9.1 3 1

Virginia Union Rushing

CAR YDS AVG TD LG
E. Shaw 14 65 4.6 0 20
D. Kelly 19 41 2.2 1 7
S. Dowdy 6 3 0.5 0 13
M. Parker 1 2 2.0 0 2
T. Malone 4 1 0.3 0 2
J. Reynoso 1 -17 -17.0 0 0
Team 45 95 2.1 1 20

Bethune-Cookman Rushing

CAR YDS AVG TD LG
C. White 8 62 7.8 1 23
A. Jordan 6 45 7.5 1 20
I. Jackson 6 45 7.5 0 47
D. Dixon 5 32 6.4 1 12
Q. Williams 4 32 8.0 1 15
D. Arnold 7 28 4.0 0 7
J. Wilson 4 24 6.0 0 15
B. Waters 4 14 3.5 0 9
Team 44 282 6.4 4 47

Virginia Union Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD LG
M. Holmes 4 41 10.3 0 14
D. Duchenne 1 24 24.0 0 24
J. Wright 3 12 4.0 0 8
D. Anderson 1 4 4.0 0 4
A. Davis 1 3 3.0 0 3
E. Shaw 1 2 2.0 0 2
M. Parker 1 1 1.0 0 1
Team 12 87 7.3 0 24

Bethune-Cookman Receiving

REC YDS AVG TD LG
E. Poole 1 44 44.0 0 44
J. Carter 2 38 19.0 2 22
J. Gordon 3 28 9.3 0 13
J. Davis 2 19 9.5 0 11
M. Jones 1 16 16.0 1 16
I. Virgin 1 14 14.0 0 14
A. Jordan 1 9 9.0 0 9
J. Lumas 1 7 7.0 0 7
J. Murphy 1 7 7.0 0 7
Team 13 182 14.0 3 44

Virginia Union Interceptions

INT YDS TD
J. Blanks 1 9 0
Team 0 0 0

Bethune-Cookman Interceptions

INT YDS TD
E. Williams 1 41 1
N. Addison 1 38 1
J. Richardson 1 0 0
Team 0 0 2

Virginia Union Kick Returns

NO YDS AVG LG
M. Norris 4 104 26.0 35
D. Duchenne 4 87 21.8 32
M. Parker 1 12 12.0 12
J. Lewis 1 0 0.0 0
Team 10 203 20.3 35

Bethune-Cookman Kick Returns

NO YDS AVG LG
J. Carter 1 28 28.0 28
Team 1 28 28.0 28

Virginia Union Punt Returns

NO YDS AVG LG
Team 0 0 0.0 0

Bethune-Cookman Punt Returns

NO YDS AVG LG
J. Borgella 1 14 14.0 0
P. Cleckley 1 7 7.0 7
D. Baker 1 0 0.0 0
Team 3 21 7.0 7

Virginia Union Kicking

FG PCT LONG XP PTS
T. Krepich 0/0 0.0 1/1 1
Team 0/0 0.0 1/1 1

Bethune-Cookman Kicking

FG PCT LONG XP PTS
J. Cagle 1/1 100.0 20 7/8 10
Team 1/1 100.0 20 7/8 10

Virginia Union Punting

TOT YDS AVG TB -20 LG
J. Reynoso 4 105 26.3 0 0 37
-. Team 1 0 0.0 0 0 0
Team 5 105 21.0 0 0 37

Bethune-Cookman Punting

TOT YDS AVG TB -20 LG
Team 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
ATTENDANCE: 6,478

Who Will Ascend (week two) vs. Virginia Union

Dion Hanks

Dion Hanks

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.

DSC_0365Excited to see…..

We have been hearing great things about BCU’s new and improved cheerleading squad.   The cheer squad is now under the direction of Becky and John Woodson and will consist of 30 members and 4 alternates.  The Wildcat cheer squad recently collected a second place finish in ‘fight song cheer’, fourth place finish in ‘sideline cheer’, and were 4th overall in the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) camp in Philadelphia.  We are looking forward to seeing the results of the hard work and dedication of the revamped cheer squad.

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.

What we learned in BCU’s 12-9 win over Tenn State

Credits: TSU Athletics

Credits: TSU Athletics

So we’re a day late on our weekly wrap-up; give us a little grace please. Our favorite HBCU played on Sunday evening and that threw the schedule off. With that being said, let’s get to it.

No Apologies Needed

The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats used a strong defensive effort to grind out a 12-9 victory over Tennessee State in Sunday night’s season opener. While it would have been nice to score more than one offensive touchdown and to put a few more points on the scoreboard, the Wildcats need not apologize for defeating a quality opponent from an automatic qualifier league on their home field. Any win against a team the caliber of Tennessee State is a great win; the score not withstanding.

Brian Jenkins is now 4-1 in “revenge games” with the University of Miami being the only team the Wildcats have succumb to in consecutive tries in the Jenkins’ era.

The Passing Game Still Needs Work

You can make an argument that based on pure talent and athleticism; BCU has the deepest and most gifted receiving corp in the conference. However, if you make that argument please do not attempt to use statistics to support your claim. The Wildcats only gained 98 yards of offense through the air against TSU. Ironically it was QB Jackie Wilson’s 6 yard TD pass to Jordan Murphy that proved to be the game winner on Sunday.

Bethune-Cookman has now played 25 games since last passing for 300 or more yards as a team. Conversely, the Wildcat offense has thrown for less than 100 yards 5 times in that same span. The Beach Cats must develop a consistent passing attack as the season progresses if they hope to have any chance of reaching their ultimate goal. The ability is certainly there; now it’s time to translate that ability into on-the-field production.

Multiple QBs the New Normal

Seniors Brodrick Waters and Jackie Wilson alternated series at quarterback throughout the TSU contest with Waters receiving the starting nod. Both players showed flashes of their potential at times but it seemed the offense as a whole lacked a consistent rhythm or flow. The biggest part of that was the TSU defense no doubt. Let’s face it, that’s an athletic and talented bunch who returned all 11 starters from the OVC’s top defense in 2012. Couple that with the fact that this was just the first game of the season and midseason precision was highly unlikely. There was something left to be desired from a playcalling standpoint and we understand that 3 offensive linemen were making their first starts in a BCU uniform. But maybe, just maybe the three-way split of quarterbacks receiving even number snaps during practice and the revolving door on gameday had something to do with the lackluster offensive performance in week one.

With that being said, we fully suspect multiple QBs will be the norm for this team unless one guy clearly seperates himself from the pack. Oh by the way, Quentin Williams, who led the team in passing yards and passing touchdowns a year ago, did not see the field on Sunday but he will certainly factor into the quarterback discussion at some point during the season.

BIG D

The most impressive unit on the field was by far the BCU defense who delivered a more than solid performance on Sunday. Jarkevis Fields and LeBrandon Richardson each had 10 tackles and Tevin Toney was a disruptive force upfront. The Wildcats kept TSU out of the endzone and limited the Tigers to 3 field goals and just 248 yards of total offense. It was an all-around great performance by the defensive unit. ALL HAIL Defensive Cats!!!!