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.

Top 12 Moments of 2012

Before 2012 takes its final curtain call and 2013 takes center stage, here is a look back at the Top 12 highlights of the 2012 football season.

(In no particular order)

IkeIsidore Jackson joins 1,000 yard club:

Junior running back Isidore Jackson became just the 7th player in BCU history to rush for 1,000 in a season.  It was the first time that a BCU player reach the 1,000 yard milestone since Allen Suber reached the magical mark in 2002.  Jackson finished the year with 1,069 yards on the ground.  He now has 2,449 yards rushing for his career which is good enough for 3rd all-time.

Eddie PSteady Eddie:

Eddie Poole has played in every game of Brian Jenkins’ head coaching career.  All Poole has done in that 35 game span is catch a pass in every contest and move into sixth (6th) place all-time on BCU’s touchdown receptions list with seventeen (17).  No sweat; just another day at the office for Steady Eddie.

Preston Cleckley’s one hander:

The final score in the BCU/Tennessee State game did not favor the good guys; however, Preston Cleckley’s one handed grab in the back of the end zone against the Tigers may have been the single most spectacular play of the season. 

The 9 yard TD strike to Cleckley was quarterback Quentin Williams’ first collegiate TD pass.  The two hooked up again in the North Carolina Central game when Cleckley ran under a 76 yard Williams’ TD pass.   The 76 yarder was the longest pass play of the season for the Wildcats.

Brock Waters

Brock Waters

Comeback kids:

17 minutes into the 2012 season, BCU fans were frozen in disbelief.  The Wildcat faithful watched Alabama State seize all the momentum and a 21-0 lead early in the 2nd quarter.  But help arrived in the form of Louisiana Tech transfer Brodrick Waters.  Waters replaced Jackie Wilson at quarterback midway through the 2nd quarter and BCU scored 38 unanswered points.  BCU went on to win the contest 38-28.

The comeback theme was repeated the following week when BCU scored 27 unanswered points after South Carolina State jumped out to a 14-0 lead. 

Courtesy of BCU Athletics

Courtesy of BCU Athletics

Defense plays lights out in the 3rd and 4th quarters:

7, 0, 0, 16, 3, 3, 3, 7, 6, 7; no those aren’t the winning Powerball numbers.  Those numbers represent the total number of points the Wildcat defense surrendered to FCS competition in the second half of contests this season.  That averages out to a measly 5.2 points per game in the 3rd and 4th quarters. 

The Wildcat D surrendered no 2nd half touchdowns in the entire month of October.  Hopefully the defense will figure out a way to extend their 2nd half achievements over 4 quarters of football and elevate themselves to a dominant defensive team in 2013.

Nick Addison’s coming out party

Redshirt freshman Nick Addison put on a display against Hampton that caused the Maroon and Gold faithful to reminisce of the days of Mathis, Collins, Williams, and Wyatt.  Addison intercepted 2 passes against the Pirates including 1 he returned 90 yards for a touchdown, he recorded 11 tackles (9 solo, .5 tfl) in that contest, and he forced a fumble.  That makes for one heck of a coming out party.

Henry Frazier none-to-happy….Is there a rivalry brewing???

NCCU head coach Henry Frazier disapproved of coach Jenkins’ decision to throw a pass while leading 35-17 late in the 4th quarter.  A visibly upset Frazier stated after the contest that he would have elected to simply run the ball if he was in the same position and not attempt to “run up the score”.  Frazier went on to state that he would remember Jenkins’ actions and have his team ready when the two schools meet again.

Could this evolve into another Bill Hayes/Alvin Wyatt type rivalry……we shall see!


For the first time in school history, the Bethune-Cookman football team finished the season with a perfect 8-0 record in MEAC play.  The last time BCU finished undefeated in conference play was 1984 when quarterback Bernard Hawk led the Cats to a 4-0 mark.  BCU has now won 14 straight MEAC contests dating back to 2011 and can tie South Carolina State’s all-time consecutive MEAC win mark of 22 if they finish undefeated in conference play in 2013.

DSC_0091Offensive line play

The BCU offensive line paved the way for the league’s leading scoring offense (29.4 points per game), rushing offense (244 yards per contest) and total offense (388.75 yards per contest).  Ole Miss transfer, Terrence Hackney led the big men upfront.  Hackney was named to several postseason All-American squads including the Beyond Sports College Network, The Sports Network, and Box-To-Row All-American teams.  The best news for BCU fans is that Hackney has 2 years of eligibility remaining. 

Lavon McCoy and Eugene Solomon were also noteworthy performers in the trenches in 2012.

The beltHe’s staying:

After entertaining offers from other colleges, namely Southern University, and at least one NFL team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brian Jenkins decided to sign a new deal and remain the leader of the BCU football team.

Jenkins has amassed a 27-8 record, 2 conference crowns, and 2 playoff berths during his brief time at Bethune. 

Run Ike Run:

Isidore Jackson’s 93 yard touchdown scamper against NCCU displayed many of the attributes that make a running back great.  Jackson broke 2 tackles (power), made a couple of guys miss (vision), and outran the rest of the field (speed) on his way to the endzone. 

It was the 4th longest touchdown run in school history and good enough to make the Top 12 in 2012 countdown.

Larry R. Handfield Athletic Training Center/Photo Courtesy of Daytona Beach News Journal - David Massey

Larry R. Handfield Athletic Training Center/Photo Courtesy of Daytona Beach News Journal – David Massey

State of the Art

BCU Football Operations moved into the 16,378 square foot Larry Hanfield Athletic Training Center in September.  The facility features a state of the art strength and conditioning center, hydrotherapy, x-ray and treatment rooms, technology equipped meeting rooms, a Hall of Fame lobby as well as other amenities.

The Training Center adds a huge boost to BCU’s recruiting, athletic facilities and footprint along the International Speedway corridor.