Resurge…. 2017 Preview

Credits: BCU Athletics

Resurge……“a rising again into prominence.”

That’s the way Merriam-Webster defines it. In Daytona Beach, Terry Sims hopes to define it as “the return to the summit of MEAC football” as Bethune-Cookman look to amend last year’s sub .500 record and return to the form that saw the Wildcats capture a share of the conference crown in Sims’ first season in 2015.

The “Resurge” theme is attached to everything BCU football. Players and coaches all wear T-shirts with the simple message. It’s on the BCU Athletics webpage. It’s plastered over @BCUGridiron social media sites. In just a little while, we get to see if it is visible in the most important of places…… on the field of play.

There is good cause for the heightened optimism heading into the season. The Wildcats return 8 starters on offense, 7 starters on defense and all of their return specialist from a season ago.

Quarterbacks

Offensively BCU was sluggish and disheveled for far too many long stretches in 2016. New offensive coordinator and former Wildcat great Allen Suber will look to remedy that by picking up the tempo and adding a few more wrinkles to this year’s offense. He will get a boost at his former position in the form of returning experienced signal callers Arkevious Williams and Larry Brihm. Williams will get the nod as the week one starter but we expect both he and Brihm to share snaps throughout the course of the season. Whether it’s a shared responsibility or someone steps up and claims the position as their own, production at the quarterback position is a must if BCU wishes to RESURGE.

Mike Jones

Running backs

The do-it-all Michael Jones was a Preseason 1st Team All-MEAC selectee in 2016 but missed the entire season with a foot injury. Jones, who can run with power, run with speed and catch the ball out of the backfield, seems to be back at full health. If Jones is fully recovered from his injury, the running game should be much improved. Jamaruz Thompkins, Camron Rigby and Tupac Isme all saw significant minutes due to Jones’ injury last year and each will vie for carries and look to redeem their time in the crowded backfield.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

The receiver position is perhaps the best and deepest position on the field for BCU. Frank Brown and Jawill Davis individually are as good as any receivers in the conference. As a tandem, it would be hard to argue that you will find a better duo in the MEAC. Brown has above average hands and good route running ability while Davis is more of the traditional speed receiver who can take the top off defenses. Add to the mix junior receiver Keavon Mitchell and converted quarterback Anthony Cruz and you have a bevy of dynamic receivers who are electric with the ball in their hands. Ja-Quan Lumas is an outstanding pass catching tight end. Look for Lumas to move around more in Suber’s offense and try to present match up issues for the opposition.

Offensive Line

The immediate impression you get when looking at this year’s offensive line is they are still big but a lot leaner than in years past. I mean don’t get me wrong, there are still some “big-uns” up front with guys like Job Buisserth who checks in at 6’4”, 315. However, you’re likely to see some lineman like Jerry Beauchamp play 40 pounds lighter than Buisserth. There seems to be more of a primacy  on technique, footwork and mobility as opposed to sheer girth and size from the guys up front.

Defensive Line

Defensive ends Kevin Thompson and Todney Evans anchor the defensive lines. Thompson and Evans offer great athleticism and speed coming off the edge. The biggest question mark for Earl Lane’s defensive front will be trying to replace DeMarcus Womack’s behemoth size and production. Dishawn Ray and Malik Slaughter offer the size and experience; let’s just hope they offer similar production.

Linebacker

The linebacker corps must improve from a season ago. It is as simple as that. Trenton Bridges is a really good football player at middle linebacker but there was a noticeable drop off after Bridges in 2016. Alexander Morales had to be moved from safety to outside linebacker to stabilize the position in the middle of last year. Thankfully Morales made his share of plays and we are hoping he can continue his maturation at the position. Marquis Hendrix is another guy who has a chance to solidify his name as a playmaker at linebacker. Hendrix originally signed with Boise State and he has all of the physical attributes needed to excel at the position. Veion Robinson, Atreyu Farrior and Deonte Mayo all saw frequent action at linebacker last year but all need to show improvement in their positioning, finishing of plays and consistency.

A Williams and D Richardson

Secondary

Diquan Richardson, Arthur Williams and Elliott Miller are all returning starters and good players in the secondary. The veterans will look to anchor a defense who finished middle of the pack in the MEAC in both scoring (25.2ppg) and total defense (349.2 ypg).

Outlook

There is a lot riding on this season for Bethune-Cookman. A successful campaign could very well see the Wildcats “Resurge” and reestablish their dominance in the conference. However, another mediocre year could spell trouble for the years ahead.

The pieces are all in place for the Wildcats to compete for another MEAC crown. They return all of their key offensive skill players from last year’s squad including their leading passer, leading rusher and leading receiver. A similar thing can be said about the defense as the top tackler, edge rushers, and cover men all return. The teams picked ahead of BCU all have their own share of serious question marks heading into the year too:

  • NCCU must replace QB Malcom Bell and several other key performers;
  • NCA&T graduated Tarik Cohen;
  • SCSU is still unsettled at the quarterback position;
  • Etc.

When you add all of this up, it says the path to the MEAC crown is more open than the claim to the Iron Throne in King’s Landing. It is not a stretch to argue Bethune-Cookman can bounce back and earn a trip to Atlanta by winning it’s 6th MEAC crown in 8 years. The crazy thing is we can also envision a very real scenario in which BCU finishes around the .500 mark again. The Cats open the year with 4 straight road games including games against FBS opponents Miami (Florida) and Florida Atlantic in the first three weeks. Sandwiched between the FBS games is an out of conference matchup with Southeast Louisiana.

For the sake of all that is maroon and gold, we hope to see the former of the two scenarios.

It all begins at 12:30 P.M. Saturday, September 2nd when BCU take on 18th ranked Miami at Hard rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

 

BETHUNE-COOKMAN WILDCATS

LOCATION: Daytona Beach, Florida

STADIUM: Memorial Stadium

COACH: Terry Sims (13-8, two seasons)

2016 RECORDS: 4-6, 4-4 MEAC (Tie/5th)

STARTERS RETURNING: 15 (8 offense/7 defense)

KEY LOSSES: Trevin Huff, OL; DeMarcus Womack, DE

 

SCHEDULE:

Sept. 2, at Miami (Florida)

Sept. 9, at Southeastern Louisiana

Sept. 16, at Florida Atlantic

Sept. 23, at Howard*

Sept. 30, Savannah State*

Oct. 14, South Carolina State*

Oct. 21, at North Carolina A&T*

Oct. 28, Hampton*

Nov. 4, Morgan State*

Nov. 11, at North Carolina Central*

Nov. 18, Florida A&M* (at Camping World Stadium, Orlando)

* – MEAC game

 

 

 

Top 5 Moments of Terry Sims Era

 

15One, 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)

BCU vs South Carolina 2015 (354)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.

BCU vs Norfolk State 2015 (426)

Frank Brown – 2017 1st Team All-MEAC

 

 

#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)

bcu-vs-norfolk-state-2015-2961Quarterback 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.

BCU leads FIU 14-7 at the half

Bethune-Cookman takes a 14-7 lead to the half over Florida International in Miami.  The Wildcats are controlling both lines of scrimmage rushing for 182 yards on offense on 25 carries.  That is a whopping 7.3 yards per carry.  Defensively BCU is holding the FIU offense to 2.3 yards per rushing attempt.

Anthony Jordan scored on a 58 yard TD run on BCU’s first offensive series capping off a 4 play, 91 yard drive that covered 1:28.  FIU evened the score at 7 apiece on an 8 yard pass from Jake Medlock to T.J. Lowder at the 6:51 mark in the 2nd.

Cary White’s 5 yard TD run pushed BCU’s lead back to 7 and capped a 66 yard scoring drive.

Anthony Jordan is averaging 12.6 yards per rush.

BCU takes over possession when we resume play after half.

Team Stats COOK   FIU
First Downs 11 5
Total Plays 36 29
Total Yards 207 171
Passing 25 128
Rushing 182 43
Penalties 2 / 25 3 / 19
Possession 14:55 14:12
Turnovers 0 0

Who Will Ascend (Week Three) at FIU

 

bethune-cookman    at    florida-international-11

Sat., Sept. 14, 2013

Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium

 

The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (2-0) travel south this weekend to take on the Florida International Panthers (0-2) in Miami on Saturday night at 6:00 p.m.  The Wildcats will look to improve to 3-0 on the season, 3-0 all-time against FIU, and secure its first ever win over a FBS opponent (FIU had not yet made the jump to the FBS level when the teams last meet in 2003).

Vegas Wild about the Cats

The Vegas sports betting odds opened on Monday with FIU favored by 3 points. The betting line moved 5.5 points in BCU’s favor within an hour of the spread being posted and another .5 point within 2 hours.  By 3:45 p.m. on Monday afternoon, BCU had gone from 3 point underdogs to 3 point road favorites. You heard right; that is not a misprint.   Vegas has a road FCS squad (BCU) favored by 3 points over a FBS team (FIU) in their home stadium.  OUCH!!! 

Vegas sports betting trends suggests the “wise guys” otherwise known as professional gamblers saw value in BCU and bet the line in BCU’s favor.  The line has remained the same for most of the week.

The Matchup

Florida International is ranked dead last in the nation in scoring offense averaging a mere 5 points per game.  Defensively the Panthers are allowing 483 yards per game and rank 108th out of 123 FBS teams.  Ron Turner started 11 new players when FIU took on Maryland in week one. The team has dealt with a rash of injuries in their first 2 games of the year.  The injuries are compounded by the already heavy attrition issues resulting from a tumultuous offseason in which FIU’s leading receiver, Glenn Coleman; starting running back, Kedrick Rhodes, and cornerback Richard Leonard were all ruled ineligible for academic reasons.  Transfer running back Jakhari Gore was kicked off the team for off the field issues.

Meanwhile Bethune-Cookman is averaging 362 yards and 39 points per game on offense while yielding just 215 yards and 8 points per game on defense.

BCU is unbeaten in their two prior meetings with FIU defeating the Panthers 31-0 in 2002 and 24-14 in 2003.  Like this season, BCU was ranked in the FCS Top 25 at the time of their prior clashes with the Panthers (#21 in 2002 and #7 in 2003).

A win on Saturday will mark the first time in the history of the BCU football program and only the 2nd time in MEAC history that a conference school has defeated a current FBS foe.  Florida A&M defeated the University of Miami 16-13 in 1979.

Road Warriors

The Marching Wildcats will join the football team at Alfonso Field on Saturday.  “The Pride” has performed in Nashville, Daytona, Jacksonville, and now Miami in less than 14 days.  The band is also expected to travel to Tallahassee for the Florida State contest on the 21st and will soon make an appearance at Raymond James Stadium for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game according to what we are being told.  Give it up for the band.

The game will be streamed live at FIUSports.com. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

BCU (baseball) defeats Miami Hurricanes

Photo Credits: BCU Athletics

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (15-17) traveled to South Florida for the first of their two trips to Coral Gables this season and exited Wednesday night’s contest with a 5-3 victory over perennial power the University of Miami (20-12).Junior right hander Montana Durapau had another strong outing on the hill yielding just 2 earned runs and striking out 7 in seven innings of work for BCU.

Jordan Dailey entered the contest in the 8th and held the Hurricanes scoreless through the final 2 frames earning him his 5th save of the season.

BCU never trailed in the contest and plated all five of its runs in the middle innings:  two each in the fourth and fifth and another in the sixth.

Eric Sams’ RBI single in the fourth brought home the Wildcats first two runs of the contest.

Shaun McCarty added an RBI in the 5th on a sharply hit double deep into the right field corner.  McCarty scored on a Brandon Turner fielder’s choice later in the inning and pushed the BCU lead to 4-0

Miami responded with an Alex Hernandez RBI single through the left side to put the Hurricanes on the board, narrowing the lead to 4-1.

Freshman catcher Chris Biocic’s RBI single in the sixth capped the Wildcats’ scoring at 5.

Michael Broad launched a monster two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Wildcat lead to 5-3, but the Canes could get no closer.

BCU’s 5-3 victory adds Miami to an impressive list of out of conference foes Jason Beverlins’ squad has defeated this season.  Arizona State, Miami, Central Florida, Central Michigan, Florida International, South Florida and Jacksonville University have all suffered defeat at the hands of the Wildcats in 2013.

The Cats return to MEAC play and will travel to Tallahassee on Friday for a three game weekend series against Florida A&M.