Admit it. A month ago, you didn’t know much of anything about Bethune-Cookman University. A handful knew about their award-winning band, especially with the Netflix series “Marching Orders” debuting this fall, but the football program? Probably not.
Bethune-Cookman is considered a Historically Black College and University, playing football in division 1-AA’s Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). BCU has won the MEAC football championship five times this decade, including four straight from 2012 through 2015. This season, BCU is 4-4 with wins against Virginia-Lynchburg (79-16), Savannah State (35-20), Mississippi Valley State (41-27) and South Carolina State (28-26). The Wildcats have lost to Tennessee State (34-3), Florida Atlantic (49-24), Howard (41-35) and North Carolina A&T State (35-10).
Against BCU’s only one division 1-A opponent this season, the Wildcats quickly fell behind Florida Atlantic 29-0 by the end of the first quarter, giving up four touchdowns on the ground. FAU rushed for 376 yards that day; they are tied with Nebraska in terms of rushing yardage with 1,539 yards rushing in FAU’s seven games this season. It sounds as if Bethune-Cookman plans to treat this week as if it were an exhibition game to get some younger players some experience.
Junior quarterback Akevious Williams (6’2” 188 lbs.) is the Wildcats’ top weapon offensively. Williams is averaging over 179 yards per game passing and 43 yards per game rushing. Williams is completing 62% of his passes with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions; he’s averaging 4.9 yards per carry with eight touchdowns rushing this season. Williams left last week’s game in the third quarter due to injury, so chances are that we’ll see more of the other two quarterbacks this week. Sophomore David Israel (6’1” 171 lbs.) has only completed 46% of his passes with three touchdowns and four interceptions. Senior Jabari Dunham (6’3” 211 lbs.) has only played in four games, completing two of three passes with an interception.
Running backs Isaac Washington (5’9” 190 lbs.) and Tupac Isme (5’11” 195 lbs.) are the top two running backs, averaging 39 and 32 yards per game respectively; each has scored a touchdown on the ground this season. Five wide receivers seem to be the primary target in the BCU passing attack, led by senior Keavon Mitchell (5’9” 173 lbs.) who’s caught 26 passes for 349 yards and five touchdowns. Junior Malique Jackson (6’0” 185 lbs.) has caught 20 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns, while senior Jimmie Robinson (5’8” 162 lbs.) has caught 17 passes for 232 yards and four touchdowns. Sophomores Jonathon Thomas (6’1” 188 lbs.) and Steffon Francois (5’11” 165 lbs.) have caught 17 and 16 passes respectively.
The left side of the Bethune-Cookman offensive line has good size, led by senior left guard Dwayne Brown (6’3” 339 lbs.), a first team all-MEAC honoree last season. But the right side combo of junior right guard Magyla Ramirez (6’2” 267 lbs.) and junior right tackle Nicholas Roos (6’7” 263 lbs.) is rather undersized.
Defensively, BCU’s defensive line is led by junior defensive end Marques Ford (6’4” 235 lbs.), whose seven sacks and four quarterback hurries lead the Wildcats. Sophomore nose tackle Uriah Gilbert (6’3” 325 lbs.) is the guy who’s going to try to clog the middle initially.
Bethune-Cookman’s top three tacklers are all linebackers, led by junior middle linebacker Marquis Hendrix (6’1” 230 lbs.) with 51 tackles (four for a loss) with two interceptions. Sophomore outside linebacker Devin James (6’1” 226 lbs.) and junior weakside linebacker Tydarius Peters (6’0” 195 lbs.) add 48 and 37, respectively.
Senior safety Kennedy Ndukwe (6’1” 195 lbs.) and sophomore cornerback Jamauri Laguerre (6’0” 180 lbs.) lead the secondary with 36 and 28 tackles respectively; each has two interceptions this season. Bethune-Cookman ranks 12th in division 1-AA for interceptions and fourth for defensive touchdowns.
Bethune-Cookman may have Florida speed, they appear to be undersized compared to what they’ll be lined up against. Both teams should be expected to substitute freely, as this game looks more like a glorified exhibition game like you’d see in the NFL in August. As the game goes on, I have to expect Nebraska to play a lot of players that, quite frankly, haven’t seen much playing time so far. This is going to be an opportunity for both coaches to take advantage of the four-game redshirt exemption.
And frankly, that probably makes this preview somewhat meaningless.
What happens when Bethune Cookman arrives in Lincoln?
This poll is closed
This crappy season means that the Huskers somehow find a way to lose this one.
The Huskers break out to an early lead, but it gets kind of sloppy as the reserves take over.
This one is over early as Run The Dadgummed Ball Guy leaves Memorial Stadium completely satisfied.