BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Bethune-Cookman erased a 21-point deficit to beat Alabama State 38-28 in MEAC/SWAC Challenge in front of 17,410 fans at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
“Our kids are buying into our philosophy of staying in the moment. We stayed the course and went through the process. It was tremendous to see the fight in this team today,” responded B-CU Head Coach Brian Jenkins.
The Wildcats used a brutal rushing attack (367 yards) and their defense clamped down in the second half as they wore down the Hornets.
“That’s just hats off to our offensive coordinator Jim Pry. He saw some things and made the right move,” added Jenkins.
Alabama leads early
Louisiana Tech transferBroderick Waters threw for 110 yards with two touchdowns and ran for 100 more with a score to earned MVP honors for the Wildcats.
For his performance, Waters received MEAC Offensive Player of the Week and BoxToRow.com National Player of the Week honors.
Waters replaced Jackie Wilson in the second quarter after the Wildcats’ offense failed to get going. Wilson did have 99 total yards (74 passing, 25 rushing) in the game.
“My teammates just had confidence in me and that was a good thing. We all have confidence in each other. I just knew to be ready to play either quarterback or receiver today,” commented Waters.
Alabama State (0-1) led 21-0 early in the second quarter behind two touchdown runs from Greg Jenkins and another from Isaiah Crowell.
The Wildcats went on to score 38 points.
“We wanted to persevere and we did. Adversity creates an opportunity for perseverance. We calmed down in the second half. We started executing and things started happening for us,” said wide receiver Eddie Poole.
Poole caught three catches for 102 yards with a score (47-yard touchdown reception, and a 54-yard catch).
B-CU got within 21-17 following Waters’ 24-yard touchdown pass to Jhomo Gordon with 5:53 to go in the third quarter.
The Hornets fumbled the ensuing kickoff and a few plays later Waters’ six-yard score with 4:28 to go in the quarter gave B-CU a 24-21 lead.
Isidore Jackson ran for 123 yards, Rodney Scott ran for 103 yards with a score, Eddie Poole had three catches for 102 yards with a touchdown, K.J. Stroud caught four passes for 39 yards, Andronicus Lovette ran for a score and Sven Hurd kicked a 20-yard field goal for the Wildcats.
Jarkevis Fields led the B-CU defense with 10 total tackles and a sack.
The Wildcats defense held B-CU held Crowell, a University of Georgia transfer and last season’s SEC Rookie of the Year, to just 19 yards rushing.
Nick Andrews added eight tackles, D.J. Howard seven tackles, Al-Ghaffar Lane an interception, LeBrandon Richardson two sacks and Harold Love III a sack and a half with a fumble recovery for B-CU.
“As a unit, we made the right adjustments both as players and as the coaching staff. Once we got pressure on them, they couldn’t take the pressure,” added Fields.
Jenkins led ASU with 196 yards passing and 39 yards rushing, garnering their team MVP honors.
Football game notes
B-CU rallied from a 21-point deficit for the first time since 2004 against Florida A&M in the Florida Classic.
The Wildcats trailed in a season opener under Jenkins for the first time.
Eddie Poole extended his streak to 24 consecutive games with at least one catch. He also had 100 yards receiving for the second time in his career.
Gordon’s touchdown reception was the first of his career.
Lane’s interception was his first as a Wildcat.
MEAC opener next week
B-CU travels to Orangeburg, S.C. to face South Carolina State University on Sept. 8 in the conference opener for both teams. The game will air live on ESPNU at 6 p.m.
South Carolina beat B-CU 26-18 last season in Daytona.
The Bulldogs has won 14 MEAC titles (12 outright), including three straight from 2008-2010. They shared the 2010 title with B-CU and FAMU.
Jenkins emphasized, “We have a very tough game next week. We have to get ready to play because it’s going to be a heavyweight fight.”
Volleyball: Wildcats remain winless
Bethune-Cookman went 0-4 at the University of Wyoming Cowgirl Classic in Laramie, Wyoming.
On Sept. 2, the Wildcats (0-7) fell to Florida Gulf Coast University 3-0 (13-25, 18-25, 23-25) and George Washington University 3-0 (22-25, 23-25, 21-25).
“We are playing with a lot of freshman. We also have to play better fundamentally. We are making too many mistakes that you cannot make in the game of volleyball,” said Isaac Raphael, B-CU’s head coach.
Krysta Gardner paced B-CU in both matches registering a season-high 16 kills against Florida Gulf Coast and 11 against George Washington University.
Janeen Davis added nine kills with 12 digs and Monica Lowe contributed 31 digs for the Wildcats.
The previous day, B-CU suffered defeat at the hands of University of Missouri Kansas City 3-0 (10-25, 18-25, 15-25) to open the tournament and 3-0 (12-25, 15-25, 13-25) to host Wyoming.
“We played against two quality programs. I thought we played better against them than we played last weekend,” stated Raphael.
Gardner had 11 kills against the Missouri team and seven against Wyoming.
Aubrianna Curtis added 33 assists and Aria Cormier seven blocks in the two matches while Jennifer Jimenez had 11 digs against Wyoming.
The Ladies traveled to DeLand to face cross-county rival Stetson.