DURHAM, N.C. — Quentin Williams threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns as Bethune-Cookman rallied from a 19-point deficit and needed a thrilling finish to defeat North Carolina Central 28-26 in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game Saturday afternoon in front of a wet O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium crowd of 2,024 and an ESPN3 audience.
The Eagles (1-3 overall,1-1 conference) had a chance to win the game in the final minute after marching 92 yards to the Wildcat 1-yard line, but freshman Elliott Miller blocked Nigel Macauley’s 18-yard field goal to preserve the Wildcats’ third victory by four points or less this season.
It’s also the second time in two years Bethune-Cookman has won a game on a late blocked field goal; the Wildcats held off FIU 14-12 in their 2014 season opener in similar fashion.
“I was thinking about FIU last year,” B-CU Head Coach Terry Simms admitted. “We had to make a special teams play. Coach [Aashon] Larkins and the guys stepped up and came up with a big block. This game is crazy!
“It was a great win,” Simms added. “We had to battle the weather AND a great opponent today. We knew [North Carolina Central] was going to be well-coached and ready. Luckily, we were able to stand in there and come out victorious.”
After North Carolina Central scored three unanswered touchdowns to turn a 7-6 halftime deficit into a 26-7 lead, Williams hit Jawill Davis for two touchdown passes, then Michael Jones scored on a 6-yard run with 10:50 remaining to give Bethune-Cookman (4-1,2-0) a 26-21 lead.
“Momentum is a curious thing,” Simms said. “This game had plenty of it. We were able to score a few unanswered after they did it. It just went back and forth. And in the end, we had to make one last stop because they were fired up.”
Malcolm Bell rushed for two of North Carolina Central’s touchdowns, while Dorrel McClain finished with 144 yards and one score.
Anthony Jordan rushed for 62 yards and the Wildcats’ first score – a 5-yard run with 5:28 remaining in a defensive-oriented first half. Ty’re Simmons set up the touchdown with the first of his two interceptions on the day, giving the Wildcats the ball on the Eagle 8-yard line.
Williams also rushed for 72 yards to complement his 13-of-18 passing day. Dre’Sean Nelson had four catches for 65 yards, Davis his two touchdowns for 58, and Jordan three catches for 17.