Bethune-Cookman’s Homecoming turned into a fireworks show Saturday as the Wildcats outlasted Norfolk State 59-49 for an MEAC victory in Daytona Beach, Fla.
In addition to scoring 108 points between them, the teams combined for 1,090 yards total offense and 10 plays that gained at least 25 yards, five by each side.
Quarterback Quentin Williams passed for 386 yards and four touchdowns, both career highs, for Bethune-Cookman (6-2, 4-1) MEAC); running back Michael Jones produced 248 all-purpose yards, 136 rushing and 112 receiving, while scoring three touchdowns. Jones scored a pair of rushing touchdowns on runs of 75 and eight yards in addition to scoring on an 89-yard pass play.
Williams also had touchdown passes of 25 and 31 yards to Frank Brown and a 34-yard scoring strike to Jontavious Carter. Bethune-Cookman’s offense finished the game with 607 total yards, 221 rushing and 386 passing.
Quarterback Greg Hankerson had a strong performance for Norfolk State (2-5, 2-2 MEAC) which produced 483 yards total offense. The transfer from Florida Atlantic threw for 266 yards and four touchdowns and he rushed for another 93 yards. Running back Gerard Johnson paced the Spartans’ ground attack with 103 yards on 17 carries.
Norfolk State spotted the Wildcats a 14-0 first quarter lead before the Spartans roared back to tie the score at 35-all at the half. Anthony Jordan scored on a three-yard run and Williams connected with Brown on his first touchdown pass of the game, and the Wildcats appeared to be in for an easy time of it. But the Spartans responded with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Hankerson to Isaac White and Anthony Smith’s 25-yard interception return for a touchdown to tie the score.
Jones’ eight-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter gave Bethune-Cookman a 49-35 lead, but the Spartans still weren’t in control of the game. Johnson teamed up with Hankerson on 58-yard pass play that kept the Spartans in striking distance of the lead at 49-42. Jones’ 89-yard catch and run for a score with 1:33 left in the third quarter gave the Wildcats a 56-42 lead and some breathing room, and Uriel Hernandez booted a 30-yard field goal for three insurance points. However, Norfolk State wasn’t done. The Spartans added another touchdown on a six-yard pass from Hankerson to White. The Spartans recovered the ensuing onside kick but their bid for another score ended when James Darby intercepted a pass in the end zone.
Southern 40, Texas Southern 21 – Willie Quinn tied an FCS kickoff return record and led the Jaguars to a road victory in a SWAC game that was played earlier than scheduled due to rain bands in from Hurricane Patricia in the Houston area. Quinn returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for the sixth score of his career to tie the FCS mark set by Hampton’s Jerome Mathis. Southern (4-3, 4-1 SWAC) pulled away in the second half, outscoring Texas Southern (3-4, 2-4 SWAC) 19-0 in the final two quarters after the score was tied 21-all going into the third period.
The Jaguars blocked a punt that resulted in a safety; Greg Pittman kicked a 28-yard field goal and Shorts and West scored on runs of 13 yards and one yard, respectively, as Southern pulled away while using its running game to overpower Tigers. The Jaguars piled up 305 yards on the ground with Lenard Tillery leading all ball-carriers with 196 yards. Tillery scored touchdowns on runs of three and two yards in the first quarter to help the Jaguars to a 21-7 lead.
North Carolina Central 20, Morgan State 17 – The Eagles picked up a home MEAC victory with a stifling rushing defense. North Carolina Central (4-3, 3-1 MEAC) held Morgan State (3-4, 3-2 MEAC) to minus 11 yards, the lowest rushing total for an Eagles opponent since they held Edward Waters to minus 42 yards on Sept. 29, 2001. Morgan State’s defense had a strong performance as well, limiting the Eagles to just 44 passing yards. However, North Carolina Central controlled the game with a rushing attack that produced 187 yards. Running back Dorrell McClain led the Eagles with 113 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
McClain’s touchdown’s came in the first quarter on runs of one and two yards as the Eagles took an early 14-0 lead. Morgan State trimmed the margin to 14-7 at the half when quarterback Seth Higgins scored on a two-yard run in the second quarter. Higgins tossed a four-yard touchdown pass to Willie Gillus early in the third quarter to tie the score. The score was tied 17-17 midway through the fourth quarter when Nigel McCauley kicked a 30-yard field for the winning points. The Eagles got the field goal after Morgan State punter Chris Moller fumbled a low snap and Ramone Simpson recovered the ball at the Bears’ 19. Morgan State’s bid for a comeback ended when Ryan Smith came up with an interception with 2:48 left in the game.
Jackson State 37, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 3 – Interim coach Derrick McCall got his first victory as the Tigers won their Homecoming. Backup quarterback Jarin Morikawa, playing in place of injured starter LaMontiez Ivy, passed for 333 yards and three touchdowns while completing 25 of 40 attempts for Jackson State (2-5, 2-3 SWAC). All three of Morikawa’s touchdown throws went to Devin Fosselman. Fosselman had six receptions for 175 yards. His touchdown catches covered 48, 10 and 59 yards. Jackson State led 24-0 at the half. The Tigers held Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-6, 0-5 SWAC) 175 yards total offense – including 76 on the ground – while gaining 469 yards. Running back Robert Johnson led the Tigers ground attack with 100 yards on 18 carries.
North Carolina A&T 65, Howard 14
South Carolina State 34, Delaware State 7
William & Mary 40, Hampton 7
Grambling State 49, Miss. Valley State 14
Bowie State 2, Virginia Union 19
Chowan 24, Elizabeth City State 20
Fayetteville State 40, Saint Augustine’s 18
Johnson C. Smith 17, Shaw 10
Shippensburg 70, Cheyney 7
Virginia State 35, Lincoln (Pa.) p
Winston-Salem State 23, Livingstone 21
Albany State 26, Clark Atlanta 14
Central State 24, Stillman 7
Miles 17, Lane 10
Morehouse 42, Benedict 10
Tuskegee 38, Kentucky State 28
Eastern Kentucky 45, Tenn. State 21
Edward Waters 26, Concordia-Selma 24
Langston 49, Bacon 7
West Virginia State 24, Glenville State 21