DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman registered its first victory over Grambling State since 1954 Saturday with a 36-23 triumph in front of a Municipal Stadium crowd of 9,423.
Trailing 23-22 entering the final frame, the 13th-ranked Wildcats (2-0) got rushing touchdowns from Danny Dillard and Drexler Dixon while the defense held the Tigers (0-3) to one first down and 25 yards in the final 15 minutes.
Bethune-Cookman hadn’t beaten Grambling State since a 25-14 decision in 1954. The Tigers had won the last eight meetings before Saturday.
Quentin Williams rushed for two Wildcat touchdowns and completed 13 of 18 passes for 165 yards for the Wildcats, who saw an early 11-point lead fade.
Dillard’s 5-yard run with 6:12 put the Wildcats ahead 29-23 and capped off a bizarre sequence that saw a B-CU touchdown pass called back on a holding penalty and Head Coach Brian Jenkins electing to take points off the scoreboard when kicker Haden Hoggarth was roughed after making a field goal. The Wildcats scored two plays later.
The Tiger offense, which had success extended drives with seven third down conversions in the first three quarters, couldn’t sustain any offense down the stretch, and the Wildcats ran the final three minutes off the clock. Dixon’s three-yard run gave the Wildcats an insurance touchdown with 56 seconds to play.
Grambling State trailed 14-3 just before halftime, but scored 11 unanswered points to take a 16-14 lead on Marc Orozco’s third field goal of the game, a 32-yarder with 9:32 left in the third quarter.
B-CU regained the lead at 22-16 on Williams’ 9-yard run and Larry Brihm’s 2-point conversion on the ensuing drive. Williams connected with Darrian Baker on a 47-yard completion to set up the score.
The Tigers answered quickly when Dominque Leake took a catch over the middle for a 75-yard touchdown that gave Grambling State a 23-22 lead.
The Wildcats capitalized on Tiger turnovers for all three first-half scores, including Williams’ 16-yard keeper with 1:03 remaining that made it a 14-3 game. Rakeem Knight set up the score when he recovered a Tiger fumble forced by Ralph Williams at the Grambing 24..
Thomas Finnie’s interception sparked the Wildcats to their first lead.
After the pick, B-CU drove 71 yards to the Tiger 3, settling for a Hoggarth 23-yard field goal that made it 6-3 with 1:26 remaining.
Hoggarth’s first field goal came after Michael Jones recovered a fumbled Tiger punt return at the Grambling State 16.
Anthony Jordan led B-CU with 73 yards, while Jones and Dillard rushed for 55 and 49 yards, respectively for the Wildcats. Brown and Jhomo Gordon each had three catches.
Bethune-Cookman will face its second FBS opponent of the year next Saturday evening, traveling a short distance to Orlando for a matchup with defending Fiesta Bowl champion UCF at 6 p.m.
Courtesy: B-CU Sports Information