DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman held off upset-minded Lane College on Saturday evening, using a hard-fought 7-3 win over the visiting Dragons in front of 6,781 fans inside Municipal Stadium. The game was the home debut for first-year head coach Terry Sims and the 2015 Wildcats.
One week after a 56-53 win at Grambling State, which was one of the highest scoring road games in program history, Bethune-Cookman (2-1) needed two (2) fourth quarter defensive stands to preserve the victory in one of the lowest scoring home tilts the Wildcats have played.
The combined 10 points made this the lowest scoring collegiate game at Municipal Stadium since it opened in 1988. The previous low was a 10-3 Bethune-Cookman victory over Howard on September 16, 198It was also the first time the Wildcats failed to reach double figures at home since a 24-3 loss to South Carolina State on September 12, 2009.
“We’ll take the win,” Sims said. “But we’ll continue to work to play more disciplined, detailed football.”
After giving up a combined 98 points in the first two games, the young Wildcats defense registered a positive. This was the first time since a 14-3 win against South Carolina State on Homecoming 2013 (October 26) that a Wildcats opponent did not reach the end zone.
“We can feel good about that,” Sims said. “We knew the defense was going to have those ‘bend but don’t break moments’ with nine new guys, and it will take us a bit to get everything together.”
After stopping a Wildcats scoring drive with an interception, Lane (1-2) closed to 7-3 on Carlos Moore’s 28-yard field goal with 6:38 remaining in the contest. The Dragons had a first-and-goal on the B-CU 7, but Donald Smith threw Gerald Gaines for a seven-yard loss that set the tone for the next three plays.
However, the Dragons immediately got the ball back after a muffed kickoff by the Wildcats, but Moore missed a 48-yard attempt three plays later. Lane had one last possession with two minutes remaining, but a fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
Anthony Jordan’s 9-yard second quarter scamper was the lone Bethune-Cookman score. The graduate – playing as a senior on the field – rushed for 74 yards, while redshirt senior quarterback Quentin Williams went 14-of-19 for 168 yards through the air, as the Wildcats put up 395 total yards of offense. Still, the Cats failed to capitalize on three of four red zone opportunities.
In the third quarter, B-CU got down to the Dragons 2-yard line on the strength of runs of 12- and 25-yards, respectively, and a 28-yard Williams to Jontavious Carter completion. But after a holding penalty negated a huge B-CU run deep inside the Dragons red zone, a fumble eventually ended the threat.
B-CU would later march from its own nine to the Lane one. But after a seven-yard loss, Williams was picked off by Ira George-Coat for a touchback.
Jordan’s score was set up by a 33-yard Michael D. Jones run and a 28-yard Williams to Frank Brown connection on a six-play, 81-yard drive that made 7-0 with 9:23 remaining in the first half.
Jones and Williams each finished with 70 and 63 yards rushing, respectively. Brown’s six catches for 55 yards paced six Wildcats receivers that tallied at least a single catch. The defense was guided by Robert Way and Smith with nine tackles each, and it was linebacker Atreyu Farrior supplying 1.5 sacks.
The Cats will look to continue their current two-game winning streak next weekend when they open Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) play against Savannah State at Municipal Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 26. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m.