Wildcats look to rebound after TSU setback

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.

Welcome the 2018 MEAC Football Season

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.

Read more: http://meacfanszone.proboards.com/thread/35030/top-2018-meac-football-storylines#ixzz5PUT555Hm  

Thanks durhamgsoaggie for your input.

Wildcats Weather Storm to Beat SELA 28-23


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.