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

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.


Final Rant (Week 3) at FIU

Drexler Dixon

Drexler Dixon

Shortly after Bethune-Cookman’s historic 34-13 win over Florida International on Saturday night, Golden Panthers head coach Ron Turner told his team “we got beat by a better football team because they’re more of a team than we are.” Turner neglected to mention to his guys that BCU fielded a squad just as athletic as his, they were equal if not superior in overall team speed, and the Wildcats were much more physical at the point of attack than were his Panthers. In essence, Turner should have said Bethune-Cookman was simply the better football team; no qualifiers needed.

This is our house

The Wildcats set the tone for the night in the parking lot before kickoff. No, there was no pregame dust-up between the two sides; I am referring to the deluxe-size BCU tailgate taking place in the parking lot. South Florida alumni chapters put together a homecoming worthy tailgate that covered the East parking lot with an abundance of Maroon and Gold supporters. The eyeball test suggests the stands inside the stadium were filled with an equal number of BCU and FIU fans.

A collective echo of ooohhhhhhhhs rang loudly on the first play of regulation when backup running back and special teams ace Drexler Dixon leveled FIU return man De’Andre Jasper on the game’s opening kickoff. Jasper left the field under his own power but the tone was established; BCU was dead set on playing fast, playing aggressive, and they were up for the challenge of proving they could compete with any team in the nation regardless of classification. For the next 59 and half minutes, it was BCU from the NCAA’s lower tiered Division One Football Championship Subdivision who dominated play.
The Wildcats kept the momentum rolling on their first offensive possession needing only 4 plays to drive 91 yards. Junior running back Anthony Jordan capped the drive with a 58 yard TD scamper and the Wildcats never looked back.

Around the same time as Jordan’s opening score, the slightly late arriving Marching Wildcats found their seats and begin to fill Alfonso Field with that rich, dark sound for which they have become known and FIU Stadium was unofficially rebranded as “The Wildcat Den” for the next 3 hours.

big men

Big men getting it done

Sports cliché number #117 states games are won and loss in the trenches and Saturday’s performance did nothing to dissuade this popular perception. The Wildcat offensive line paved the way for three Wildcat rushers to accumulate at least 60 yards each on the ground and a team average of 6.0 yards per attempt. My calculator tells me that’s good enough for a first down every two rushing tries. The defensive line was equally impressive limiting FIU to a pedestrian 2.2 yards per carry and just 73 yards rushing on the night. Coach Brian Jenkins stated after the game he challenged his offensive and defensive lines and based on the above-mentioned statistics, they answered the challenge pretty well.

FBS teams often enjoy their greatest level of superiority in the trenches when facing FCS opponents; so to see Bethune-Cookman’s big men not just hold up well but dominate the lines of scrimmage was a welcoming sign. Line play has been a tiresome point of criticism of HBCU squads for the better part of the last decade. Let’s hope BCU has solved this riddle as we get deeper into the season.

Take me away

Despite leading the nation in takeaways last season, BCU failed to register a turnover in week one versus Tennessee State. However, the Wildcat defense has seemed to regain their ball-hawking ways and have produced 5 takeaways in the past two games. Tim Burke’s 92 yard pick-six with 14:38 remaining in the contest ended any FIU hopes of a comeback attempt. It was BCU’s third pick-six of the season (Erik Williams and Nick Addison both returned interceptions for touchdowns in the Virginia Union game).

The Wildcats step WAY up in competition when they take on the #8 ranked Florida State Seminoles in Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday night. This will be the first ever match up with the Noles.

BCU to play Florida State in 2013

DSC_0006It was announced on Monday that the Bethune-Cookman football team will faceoff against perennial ACC power Florida State on September 21st in historic Doak Campbell Stadium.

This will be the first ever football matchup between the two universities.

The Wildcats were originally slated to play Central Florida on September 28th; however, UCF opted to withdraw from the game and faceoff against Penn State instead. 

BCU athletic director Lynn Thompson stated he received several invites to fulfill the vacant date.  Included among those was an invitation to play in the 2013 Circle City Classic, but a suitable Division I opponent could not be found.

The 2013 campaign kicks off Labor Day Weekend in the John Merritt Classic in Nashville against Tennessee State.  The Cats return for their home opener on September 7th vs Virginia Union just before facing off against FBS opponents Florida International (Miami, 09/14)  and Florida State (Tallahassee, 09/21).

After a bye-week, the Wildcats will begin MEAC play in Dover against Delaware State (10/5) followed by a showdown with Howard in DC on October 12th. 

4 of their next 5 contests will be held in the friendly confines of Municipal Stadium (Savannah State – 10/19, South Carolina State – 10/26 {homecoming}, Norfolk 11/9, and Hampton 11/16).

Sandwiched in between homecoming and the game with Norfolk is a November 2nd matchup with North Carolina Central in Durham.

As always, the regular season will wrap-up in Orlando in the Florida Classic.