Bethune-Cookman was the only team to defeat defending champion Norfolk State last season in a 14-6 nail biter at William “Dick” Price Stadium. This year’s edition of the 2nd annual Biker’s Classic was decided very early on as the Wildcats “zoomed” out to a 34-3 first half lead and 271 total yards en route to a 48-3 victory over the Spartans at Municipal Stadium. The Wildcats amassed 435 yards of total offense against the Spartans, who came into the game ranked as the #3 ranked defense overall in Football Championship Subdivision. In terms of scoring, the 48 points scored by the Wildcats is their largest scoring output in almost a calendar year. (They defeated Savannah State 59-3 in November 12, 2011).
Redshirt freshman quarterback Quentin Williams was extremely efficient operating the Wildcats offense, connecting on 9-11 of his passes for a career 157 yards and 2 touchdowns. Backup quarterback Brodrick Waters led the Wildcat rushing attack with 103 yards on nine attempts and a touchdown. Leading the receiving corps was Keith Stroud with four catches for 60 yards and a score and Jhomo Gordon with two catches for 62 yards and a score. While Jenkins effusively praised the play of Williams, he did continue to stress his belief that any of his quarterbacks can come in and be effective.
“I think people think when I say that I’m just selling them words, Jenkins said. We have three quarterbacks who can actively run our offense at a high level and it showed today. We were very close to putting Jackie (Wilson) in and rolling, and I think the same results would’ve happened. But it just so happened we decided to go with Brodrick and we knew we would have good results.”
While Jenkins was still non-committal on Williams being the starter, he did (jokingly) offer up some insight as to why the redshirt freshman has started the last three consecutive games.
“Q knows how to buy Snickers and different things and present them to me in order to get that extra nod on Friday night.”
Defensively, the Wildcats limited the Spartans to 239 yards and forced 3 turnovers, highlighted by DJ Howard’s 69 yard fumble return for a touchdown early in the first quarter. They also harassed Spartan quarterbacks Jake Basmagian and Pierre Narcisse all day finishing with four sacks, seven tackles for losses and an interception.
“We feel like we’re a championship defense, Howard said. As long as we are playing hard-nosed, Wildcat football, we feel we can be a championship team.”
On their first drive, the Wildcats drove 75 yards on 16 plays capped by a six yard touchdown reception from Williams to Poole to give the Cats a 7-0 lead with 8:20 remaining in the first quarter. The 16-play drive was kept alive by a crucial fourth down conversion when Williams found Keith Stroud for a 14 yard reception on 4th and 13.
Minutes later, the Wildcat defense would come up big. After Norfolk State forced and recovered a Williams fumble, Nesly Marcellon stripped NSU’s Conley Smith at the 31 yard line on the ensuing play. DJ Howard scooped up the football at the 31 and raced 69 yards untouched to give B-CU a 14-0 lead with 3:41 remaining in the first.
Early in the second quarter, Williams struck again, this time connecting on a 28 yard TD strike to Stroud who made a diving catch to give the Cats a 21-0 lead with 12:37 remaining in the first half.
Less than four minutes later, B-CU continued to pour it on the Spartans. This time Isidore Jackson found the end zone from 33 yards out. Sven Hurd missed the PAT for the first time in 60 attempts extending B-CU’s score to 27-0 with 8:20 remaining in the first half.
Bethune-Cookman outgained Norfolk State 271-72 in the first half, primarily by the play of Williams who accounted for 176 of the Cats’ 271 total yards.
As the second half began, B-CU’s defense continued to impose its will on the Spartans. Nick Addison picked off a Jake Basmagian pass and returned it 33 yards to the NSU seven yard line to set up the Cats deep in Spartan territory. Two plays later, Waters scored on a seven yard quarterback keeper to extend the Wildcats lead to 41-3 with 6:54 remaining in the third quarter.
Waters then finished out the scoring with 6:58 remaining in the game when he connected with Jhomo Gordon on an out route. Gordon reversed his field and scampered 13 yards into the end zone to give the Cats a 48-3 lead with 6:58 left in the game.
The Spartans were led by Basmagian who went 12-24 for 119 yards and an interception. Defensively, the Spartans were paced by linebackers Lynden Trail and Terrance Pugh with 12 and 11 total tackles, respectively.
With the loss, the Spartans dip to 2-6 overall (0-5 MEAC) at what can be best described as a disappointing season for the Spartans after winning their first league title a year ago. The Spartans will travel to Greensboro, NC to face North Carolina A&T next Saturday.
Bethune-Cookman improves to 5-2 on the season with the win and a share of first place in the MEAC with upcoming opponent North Carolina Central with a 4-0 league record. The win sets up a pivotal conference showdown next weekend in Daytona when the Wildcats host the Eagles at Municipal Stadium at 2:00 PM, with the winner gaining sole possession of first place in the conference.
“Coach Frazier is gonna have his team ready and it’s going to be one heckuva ballgame,” Jenkins said. He’s proven. He did the same thing at Prairie View so to sit here and say I’m shocked would be foolish of me. Once a man has proven himself there’s no need to doubt him. So he’ll have his team ready and it’s going to be a tremendous ball game.”