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.