A heartbreaking Homecoming loss for Wildcats

Winning streak stopped by South Carolina team; MEAC title still possible 

COURTESY OF B-CU ATHLETICS
Bethune Cookman’s offense led by Akevious Williams (10) lines up against the South Carolina State Bulldogs during the Homecoming game.

BY ANDREAS BUTLER 
DAYTONA TIMES

The Bethune-Cookman University Wildcats suffered a heartbreaking 27-19 loss to South Carolina State University in front of an announced Homecoming crowd of 12,202 at Daytona Stadium on Oct. 26. 

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak and nine-game Homecoming win streak for B-CU. 

The South Carolina State defense made four fourth-down stops and recorded two interceptions, including Zaffir Kelly’s 55-yard pick-six. It gave South Carolina a 27-13 lead right before halftime. 

KIM GIBSON/DAYTONA TIMES
The Marching Wildcats band entertains the crowd during halftime at the sold-out Homecoming game on Saturday at Daytona Stadium.

Key plays in game 

Akevious Williams threw for 262 yards with two touchdowns with two interceptions for B-CU. 

Darryl Powell had two catches for 65 yards and a score, Steffon Francois three catches for 60 yards, Que’Shaun Byrd caught a 47-yard touchdown pass, and LaDerrien Wilson had a rushing score for the Wildcats. 

B-CU was led defensively by Devin James (12 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack), Marquis Hendrix (10 total tackles) and Devonte Lawrence (10 total tackles).

The game was also the home finale for the Wildcats, who went 2-1 at Daytona Stadium. The Wildcats’ Sept. 8 home opener with Southeastern Louisiana was canceled due to Hurricane Dorian. The game will not be made up. 

KIM GIBSON/ DAYTONA TIMES

B-CU quarterback Akevious Williams (10) tries to get past a South Carolina State player.

MEAC title hopes still alive 

Despite the loss, the Wildcats still have a chance to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) title and earn a trip to the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta come December. 

They need to win out and hope for South Carolina State to lose another game. 

Florida A&M (7-1, 5-0) actually sits atop the conference standings, but is ineligible for the postseason. In May, the NCAA placed FAMU on probation for five years for certification violations of student-athletes in 12 sports.

FAMU put a self-imposed postseason ban on their football, baseball, men’s basketball, track and field, women’s basketball and volleyball programs.

So, Bethune-Cookman is technically atop the standings, with a half a game lead on South Carolina State (5-2, 3-1) and North Carolina A&T State University (5-2, 3-1). 

COURTESY OF B-CU ATHLETICS
Bethune-Cookman University’s Que’Shaun Byrd races to the end zone for a touchdown pass during Homecoming. The Wildcats still fell 27-19 to the Bulldogs.

Upcoming games

The Bulldogs and Aggies play each other on Saturday (Nov. 2). The Wildcats play the Aggies on Nov. 16. 

The Wildcats have a bye-week this week and a chance to sort things out. 

They have three games remaining including two on the road and one at a neutral site.

B-CU’s season still could come down the final two weeks at North Carolina A&T and against FAMU on Nov. 23 in the Florida Classic at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. They must win at Delaware State on Nov. 9 to keep themselves in position.

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