HBCU Sports Aficionados, Bryan Harvey and Bradford Gillens, join Hail Wildcats to discuss BCU’s move to the SWAC. What should Wildcat/SWAC fans expect? What’s the future of the MEAC? How do BCU athletic teams stack up against SWAC foes? Tune in to find out.
Back in the day when my crew and I were rocking Jeri Curls, Guess Jeans and Adidas with the fat boy shoelaces, Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen penned the famous line: “you can’t start a fire without a spark.” Today as I sit here with my baldhead, no name jeans and Dr. Scholl inserts, I am unashamedly thanking Florida A&M University for the fire that is currently blazing across the MEAC and HBCU landscape.
Yeah, you heard me correctly. On this 21st day of October, I am thanking Florida A&M University for setting the MEAC landscape on fire.
The spark that started the flames came on Sunday afternoon when the Rattlers defeated reigning Black College National Champions North Carolina A&T 34-31 in overtime.
Prior to Sunday’s rescheduled contest, there was a sense of apathy…inevitability…been-there-done-that permeating MEAC circles. There were no real surprises up to that point. All of the teams we thought would be good heading into the season were handling their business; none more so than the #9th ranked Aggies who seemed on course to win their 3rd straight MEAC crown.
But all of that changed when FAMU pulled off the first real shocker of the season. As a result, lethargy has been replaced with vigor around the conference. Trash talk is ramping up. Half of the league is playing the “what-if” game and reviewing all of the scenarios that would land their squad in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl.
Buddy Pough and the resurgent South Carolina State Bulldogs now control their own destiny to get to the Celebration Bowl. NCA&T is still in control of their own fate to get to Atlanta. Florida A&M, who isn’t eligible for postseason play this year due to self-imposed sanctions, still control their own destiny as it relates to being named Black College Football National Champions. Rattler fans, who have watched their team defeat Southern, South Carolina State and now North Carolina A&T, are starting to feel real good about themselves. Many of them are already peeking ahead at the Florida Classic.
Speaking of the Florida Classic, let’s not forget about our favorite hBCU. Bethune-Cookman is 6-1 and sitting atop the MEAC standings but if you were not playing close attention you could have easily missed that fact. This is partly because the Wildcats have yet to have a signature win and partly because BCU’s schedule is heavily back loaded with games against SCSU, NCA&T and FAMU all upcoming.
The Bulldogs visit Daytona Beach this Saturday to face the Wildcats in a huge homecoming matchup. A SCSU win would throw the conference race into utter chaos. A win by BCU keeps them looking down at everyone else in the standings and on pace for the MEAC title and one of the most significant Florida Classic matchups in years.
Yeah, I know there is a ton of football left to be played between now and then but a guy can dream can’t he?
Everything is on the table. All of the team goals are still in front of the Wildcats. Let’s hope Terry Sims, his coaching staff and his team can pull it all together and keep the fire burning in the hearts of BCU fans. South Carolina State you’re on the clock. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00pm this Saturday. Who will ascend to the top of the mountain!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
There is a gentlemen by the name of Dr. K. Jackson who has a thriving pediatric dentistry practice in the Great Atlanta Area. I know you don’t really care about that, unless of course your Little Johnny has a gator-sized overbite in which case you may want to rush out to one of Dr. Jackson’s offices IMMEDIATELY, but humor me if you will.
When we were both seven years old, some older kids in the neighborhood provoked me to start a fight with Dr. J. I had a pretty good history up to that point of holding my own against kids at my level so what the heck. Let’s do this!
Let’s just say things did not go the way I anticipated that day.
Dr. Jackson’s 7 year old self kicked my 7 year self’s butt. It was awful. I cried real tears y’all. I am not exaggerating. He beat me up and sent me home crying real tears. The most frustrating thing is I felt like I had no answers. I just remember thinking whatever the 7 year old version of ‘somebody throw in the dang towel already’ while I was eating a plate full of future dentist fists.
He outthought me, outmaneuvered me, out-classed, out-witted, out-manned, outperformed…I was just…well ‘out’ that day. It was a completely one sided affair.
For those of you who witnessed Bethune-Cookman’s contest against Tennessee State this weekend, it was pretty much the same; only BCU was me and TnST was Dr. Jackson. The Tigers “out-everything” Bethune last Saturday. They outrushed (201-66), out passed (324-178), out-executed, outcoached and of course outscored (34-3) Cookman.
Fortunately for 7 year old me, it all worked out in the end. I live a pretty good life now and Dr. Jackson and I are best of friends to this day. It was also the last fight I loss so I have that to hang my hat on too.
The Wildcats are looking for a similar story line. A lopsided defeat early in the season does not have to define this team and it can mostly be erased from the memory banks if they can course-correct. Objective number one if they are to steer this ship back towards the Celebration Bowl is to fix the offensive line woes. That’s easily spoken but not easily resolved.
Now granted, the offensive line is young and Tennessee State is not exactly the defense you want to break in the new tires against. The Tigers threw a myriad of pressures at the young Wildcat front and frankly BCU simply were not good enough to handle it. Even though the OLine failed their first test, they must rebound if this team wishes to finish the season at or near the top of the conference standings.
Surely the Wildcats will look to set the tone and build much needed confidence in the offense and throughout the entire team when Virginia University of Lynchburg roll into Daytona Beach this Saturday.
The Dragons are a gift from Ms. Mary McLeod to her beloved Wildcats in Week Two of the College Football Season. Virginia Lynchburg are not members of the NCAA, instead, they compete in the lower and less competitive NCCAA or National Christian College Athletic Association. Yet it’s still an official contest against other grown men and after last week’s drubbing, you could not find a better place on the schedule for it. The Wildcats need to not only win this contest but they need to play the role the big bruiser in this fight and get that swagger back that comes not just from winning but dominating your opponent. Doing so would pump a gulp of fresh air into Wildcat nation. I am sure it would also make 7 year old Dr. Jackson really proud.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00pm.
Hey y’all; it’s game week and the kickoff of the 2018 MEAC football season is here. (That felt so good I will say it again).
Hey y’all; it’s game week and the kickoff of the 2018 MEAC football season is here. Our beloved Wildcats travel to Nashville to take on the Tigers of Tennessee State this Saturday, September 1st at 7:00pm in the John Merritt Classic. Bethune will look to capture its first MEAC crown since 2015 and finish the season in Atlanta in the Celebration Bowl.
But it’s not just the Wildcats who will fight to position themselves at the top of the MEAC standings come season end. Aggies, Eagles, Bison and Bulldogs will all attempt to claw their way to the catbird seat and represent the conference in Atlanta in December.
Our MEACFANSZone friend, durhamgsoaggie, put together a list of things to watch for this season in the MEAC that will likely have major impacts on 2018 and beyond. Enjoy!
1. A Tale of Two Willies In Tally.
2018 will mark the first time that the two D1 universities in Florida’s capital will both have black head football coaches (and under the age of 45). In fact, the ADs, men’s basketball coaches and head football coaches of both FAMU and FSU are all black males.
Slick Willie (Taggart) and Fast Willie (Simmons) are great young football minds who have the potential to change the game at their prospective levels. In addition to winning, the question is whether they can produce a synergy within the city of Tallahassee that hasn’t been there to lift both sides to dominance? And will FAMU’s recruitment of Kayvon Thibodeaux, one of the nation’s highest rated players, have an effect on this if successful?
2. The evolution of Akevious Williams and the Circle City Debate
Most media outlets have Howard picked as the consensus #2 behind A&T because of the Caylin Newton/Mike London effect. But an argument can be made that the most talented roster in the MEAC from top-to-bottom is down in Daytona. With Larry Brihm now departed to the CFL, will Williams make the leap this year as the unquestioned leader at QB under the tutelage of Allen Suber? Or will he fall back into a timeshare with a player like Jabari Dunham? Given BCU’s home games against A&T & NCCU and a bevy of talented RBs to go with an aggressive defense… the answer to this question could have championship ramifications for the MEAC.
BCU also elected to give up its home game vs. Howard for the Circle City Classic. If BCU wins, this is a moot issue. However… if Howard wins on the neutral site, the questions will linger whether it was a wise move to give up home-field advantage for the $$$ and visibility for Circle City. This game is definitely one to watch.
3. NCCU – The QB Collectors
NCCU started 2017 with former Southern/JUCO transfer Micah Zanders at QB. Due to injury, freshman Chauncey Caldwell took over the reins for the Eagles with sophomore Naill Ramadan mixed in. In the offseason, NCCU signed Zanders’ brother Marvin, a grad transfer QB from Missouri. In addition, freshman Dominique Shoffner redshirted. Crowded QB rooms are nothing new in a D1 football program. But with a squad replacing 8 starters on defense, continuity and efficiency on offense will be key early in the season. Coach Granville Eastman is a defensive guy who will have his defense fully functional by mid-season. RBs are abundant with the return of Isaiah Totten and arrival of hometown star Jamal Elliott. But the QB room in Durham is a carousel to watch early in the season.
4. The Ticking Clock in Norfolk
3 seasons and no progress in Norfolk for Coach Latrell Scott. Solid recruiting classes, a solid returning starter at QB in Juwan Carter, a big win down in Durham vs. NCCU… but no real traction so far. Tragedy struck the Norfolk program in a major way last season. But this is a new season and the natives in the talent-rich Tidewater region are on the warpath. Can Scott’s staff produce the synergy needed to produce a winning season? Can an offensive line emerge to control the clock, keep an opportunistic defense fresh and keep the talented Carter upright to make plays? Or will Scott’s tenure end with a grave in the Tidewater wetlands? One thing is for sure… Virginia State and Reggie Barlow are coming on September 1st. Could Scott be playing against his potential replacement? Time will tell.
5. End of an era in Orangeburg and Savannah.
Rumors have been swirling that 2018 will be the last for SCSU Coach Oliver “Buddy” Pough. 2018 is also the last season for Savannah St as they move back to the SIAC in Division II. SCSU produced another high draft pick with Darius Leonard going in the 2nd round to the Colts. With SCSU losing LB Dashawn Taylor as well… will the massive OL/DLs down in Orangeburg be able to carry the load and give Buddy one last winning season out the door? And can Coach Erik Raeburn continue to build a viable program given concurrent defections due to the pending move down for progress in 2018?
6. New faces, same problems in Delaware & Baltimore
Coaches Rod Milstead and Ernest Jones bring new energy & passion to their programs. But structural and regional issues still remain the same for both programs. Can the coaches recruit successfully enough in the same competitive recruiting regions? And are the staffs they assemble capable enough in the scheme/execution department to make a significant change in the quality of football we’ve seen from both schools? A competitive DSU/MSU combo makes this entire conference take a step up. We need it.
7. Golden Non-Conference Opportunities
Multiple schools have great opportunities for OOC wins, including Morgan St, NCCU, FAMU and BCU. Norfolk St has a major home game against FCS power James Madison. But the headliners are Howard & A&T.
Howard has FBS Ohio & Kent St while ending the season hosting FCS Bryant. A&T kicks off the season with FCS power Jacksonville St, then travels to FBS East Carolina, followed by hosting FCS Gardner Webb. The A&T/Jax St. game may be the biggest MEAC FCS game since the 1999 I-AA Playoffs in terms of competitive standing on the FCS stage. Howard’s win over UNLV and near-miss at Kent in 2017 put them on the map in the Mike London era. Continuing to win more of these games is critical to gaining a broader market audience for the MEAC. But tiebreakers may also come into play for A&T and Howard, since they will not play each other in 2018. So all of these matchups are key in 2018.
Thanks durhamgsoaggie for your input.
Before my cousin and I headed off to college, our uncles decided to loan us their extra wheels for the summer so we could handle all of our post high school shenanigans. So we alternated between driving one uncle’s white 1971 Chevy Corvette Stingray and another uncle’s almost doo-doo brown 1976 Plymouth Valiant.
Yes the Stingray was as awesome as it sounds. 427 cubic inches of aggressive, opulent, spectacular American Muscle.
Also yes, the Plymouth was a hooptie. We affectionately named the Plymouth “sadadat” based on the sound she made when we drove her.
“Sa-da-dat”, “sa-da-dat”, “sa-da-dat”….. you could hear us coming from 3 blocks away.
It was actually my homeboy Johnny Torrence, currently the proprietor of Torrence Lifestyles, who came up with that name but I digress.
Both vehicles got us to and from beachside parties, girlfriends homes, work…you name it. But getting there in the Plymouth was nothing like arriving in the ‘vette. What the Stingray was in feisty excitement, sadadat was in humdrum pragmatism.
I have spent all summer trying to figure out if the 2018 rendition of @BCUGridiron will be more like the ‘vette or the Plymouth I use to drive. Excitement or humdrum? The truth is I have no idea.
Every time I try to make myself believe the Cats are poised to make a run, I start to hear “sa-da-dat,” “sa-da-dat,” “sa-da-dat” playing in my head.
I wish I could go on a Denny Green tirad and shout “the Wildcats are who we thought they were” but I have no idea who the Wildcats are.
I have even robbed myself of my late summer hobby of spending hours envisioning all of the reasons why our beloved Bethune-Cookman Wildcats will finish the season atop the MEAC and HBCU football standings.
But nope! That has not yet happen this season.
No wishing the Aggies, Rattlers, Bulldogs and Eagles fans bad luck this season for having the audacity of thinking they will somehow win against the Mighty Fighting Wildcats. My posts on MEACFanZone haven’t been filled with passive aggressive jabs about “the little church school”striving hard to prove everyone wrong.
It hasn’t happen. None of it. Instead I am just sort of preparing to ride out the 2018 football season in the passenger seat of the Plymouth…but I have my racing gloves and shades in hand just in case in I need to jump in the ‘vette too.
Terry Sims took over as the head honcho in Daytona Beach in 2015. The Wildcats finished 9-2 that season, 4-6 the next and 7-4 last season under Sims’ direction. For those keeping score at home, Sims’ teams have swapped between good, bad and average like my cousin and I swapped vehicles. BCU’s 20-12 (.600) record in the Sims era averages out to about 7 wins and 4 defeats a season.
Bethune won 7 of its 9 matchups against FCS teams last year. That is good. 8 of those 9 games were 1 possession games entering the final 2 minutes of the contests including against bad 3 win teams like South Carolina State, Savannah State and FAMU. That is not good.
Sure you will take a win any way you can get it but what if the Wildcats don’t convert a Hail Mary against NCCU as time expires this season? What if the Cats don’t block a SCSU field goal as time whines down? What if the FAMU punter doesn’t foolishly attempt a fake punt with his team leading and possessing all of the momentum in the second half? (That last question was fully intended to frustrate Rattler fans btw.)
If BCU plays the same way they have the past two seasons, there is equal chance of the ball bouncing for or against them.
The prayer of the Wildcat faithful is that Coach Sims and company will calibrate things just right, have this team firing on all cylinders and find themselves putting games away early and not allowing contests to hang in the balance.
Of course other teams will have something to say about that but the Road to Atlanta and the Celebration Bowl is more easily navigated this year than in years past.
The two North Carolina schools are the only schools to have represented the MEAC in the Celebration Bowl. However, both schools find themselves in a state of major transition with head coach Rod Broadway retiring at NCA&T and NC Central losing their head coach Jerry Mack to FBS Rice.
BCU’s roster is talented enough to rise to the top of the leaderboard in conference but if they are to do so, they will have to improve on both sides of the ball. The Wildcats finished last season ranked in the middle of the pack on both offense (6th) and defense (5th).
Sims described his defense as bend but don’t break last year. With running starters like Elliot Miller (DB), Trenton Bridges (LB), Devin James (LB) and Todney Evans (DL), the Wildcats should have plenty enough on defensive side of the ball to exert their will and return to the dominant, hard hitting, fast paced unit they are traditionally known as being.
The D will have to lead the way early in the season while Arkevious Williams acclimates to being the new starting QB. Offensive coordinator Allen Suber will also have to look for ways to prepare a bevy of new receivers to make up for the losses of Jawill Davis and Frank Brown.
“Vroom, vroom” or “sa-da-dat?
I am still unsure which one we will see in 2018. What I do know is we are just two weeks away from finding out when the Cats travel to Nashville on September 1st at 7:00pm to take on Tennessee State in the John Merritt Classic.
HailWildcats.com will be there to bring you a fan’s perspective of all the action. You are cordially invited to travel with us to Nashville and all road games as we support our boys in their quest to make it to the Celebration Bowl. Click here for fan bus details: https://hailwildcats.com/ontheprowl/.
Hailwildcats.com invites you to our WILDCATS “PREY TOGETHER” Game Watch Party on October 21st, 2017 starting at 12:45 p.m. EST when our Mighty Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman University take on the Aggies of North Carolina A & T University on ESPN3. The game will air live on the “BIG SCREENS” of HOULIGAN’S at 1725 W. International Speedway Blvd Daytona Beach, FL 32114.
If you are in the Daytona area, put on your Maroon and Gold and come out and share with the Wildcat Nation in this momentous and joyous occasion and see
“Who will ascend to the top of the mountain?”
Just as in the past, the bar will have drink specials and food for Wildcat Alumni and fans. Kick off is at 1 pm…be there early as Saturday is a very popular at Houligan’s.
SEE YOU THERE!
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.
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.
One, two, three—(one). One, two, three—(two). One, two, three—(three). Oh, don’t mind us! We’re just stretching the muscles and trying to loosen up before the kickoff of the 2017 football season.
There is a ton of anticipation heading into Bethune-Cookman’s Fall camp as Terry Sims and his men prepare to rebound after suffering its first losing season since 2009. Before we begin our look ahead at @BCUGridiron’s 2017 “RESURGE” campaign, let’s take a quick look back at the Wildcat’s Top 5 Moments under now 3rd year head coach Terry Sims.
Starting in reverse order
#5 First Florida Classic victory (2015)
A victory over a one-win team is not normally considered a memorable one, however, when said victory is over your archrival in your first match-up against them as head coach, it definitely gets elevated to the category of memorable.
Quentin Williams passed for three touchdowns and ran for another that November afternoon as BCU thumped the Rattlers 35-14 in the 2015 edition of the Florida Blue Florida Classic.
The win earned BCU its 5th consecutive victory over FAMU and its fourth consecutive MEAC crown.
#4 SCSU Blacked Out (2015)
The Thursday Night “Blackout Contest” televised on ESPNU saw BCU rally late in the 4th quarter to secure a 17-14 victory over MEAC foe South Carolina State.
Quarterback Quentin Williams played a large role in the win hitting Ja-Quan Lumas for a 2 yard touchdown in the third quarter before rushing for the go-ahead score with 5:14 remaining in the contest.
#3 Circle the Wagons (2016)
After a rash of untimely injuries, lackluster performances and a stunning loss to Savannah State, the 2016 Wildcats were 0-5 and fighting for the future of the program by mid-October.
Sims rallied his guys, led them into The Commonwealth and earned a tough 21-14 victory at Norfolk State. The Beach Cats followed up the NSU win with strong performances against Delaware State, Morgan State and Florida A&M winning those contests by an average margin of victory of 27 points.
It was the first time all year BCU looked like the team predicted to compete for a MEAC crown at the beginning of the season. That string of victories breathed life back into the program and Sims will surely look to ride that momentum as his troops attempt to fight their way back to the pinnacle of the MEAC this season.
#2 BLOCKED (NCCU 2015)
Hurricane Joaquin forced the 2015 matchup with North Carolina Central to be moved up two hours as North Carolina declared a state of emergence ahead of the contest.
BCU lead the game 7-6 at halftime but NCCU stormed out of the locker room and took a commanding 19 point lead into the final minute of the 3rd quarter.
The Wildcats scored 21 unanswered to take a 28-26 lead but this is when the real thunderstorm began.
The Eagles marched 92 yards to the Wildcats 1-yardline in the final minutes of the contests. On 3rd and goal from the 1 yard line, Central thought they scored the go-ahead touchdown but replay officials rained on that thought and ruled the ball never crossed the threshold of the goal line.
No sweat right! All Central had to do was lineup and convert a routine18 yard field goal to secure its 2nd ever victory over BCU. DIDN’T HAPPEN!
Freshman DB Elliott Miller BLOCKED Nigel Macauley’s 18 yard FG attempt and the Wildcats held on for the rain soaked win.
#1 Sims Earns First Ever Win at Grambling State (2015)
Quarterback changes, momentum swings, 109 total points, over 1000 yards of total offense….this game had just about everything.
Larry Brihm and Quentin Williams combined to throw for 463 yards and six touchdowns as Bethune-Cookman scored late and held on for a 56-53 victory over Grambling State at Eddie Robinson Stadium in 2015.
BCU trailed by double digits twice in the matchup and there were 6 lead changes in all. The Wildcats took the final lead at the 3:37 mark in the 4th when Williams hit Jawill Davis, who finished with 199 yards, on a 29-yard scoring strike to claim a 49-46 advantage. Bethune added another score with 1:48 left when Anthony Jordan ran in from 41 yards out. Jordan’s score proved to be the game winner as Grambling quickly marched down the field and Johna Williams hit Chester Rogers with a 12-yard scoring strike with 54 seconds left to round out the final score at 56-53.
The win was the first for Terry Sims.