|Photo by Steven Harman of The Tennessean|
By ADD SEYMOUR JR.
On a night when neither offense could muster much offense, Bethune-Cookman did just enough to defeat Tennessee State 12-9 in the 14th John A. Merritt Classic in Nashville, Tenn.
Jackie Wilson threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Murphy late in the fourth quarter that gave the Wildcats their 12-9 lead in the battle of two of the nation's top HBCU football squads. The Big Blue Tigers made it into Bethune-Cookman territory on the game's final drive, but Jamin Godfrey missed a 49-yard field goal on the last play that would have sent the game into overtime.
Both defenses played well as Bethune-Cookman, with star running back Isadore Jackson only getting 56 yards on the ground, had just 260 yards of total offense. Tennessee State, who was playing without suspended starting quarterback Michael German, wasn't much better as they had 248 yards of total offense on the night.
Tennessee State head coach Rod Reed suspended German for the Tigers first two games after a summer in which he was charged with felony vandalism (the charge was dropped in early August) and he had to go to summer school to remain academically ineligible.
TSU quarterback finished with 132 yards passing while All American tight end A.C. Leonard and wide reciever Devin Wilson each had five catches. Wilson had 54 yards passing and 43 yards rushing for Bethune-Cookman.
Next weekend, Tennessee State, who will again be without German, visits Florida A&M while Bethune-Cookman hosts Virginia Union.
|Photo by Mike Ewen of The Tallahassee Democrat|
Florida A&M Defense Stuffs Mississippi Valley State 27-10
The Florida A&M defense struck and struck and struck again.
Mississippi Valley State struggled all night against a stiff Rattlers defense while an efficient Florida A&M running game led the Rattlers to a 27-10 opening-season win over the Delta Devils in the 9th Annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge Presented by Disney in Orlando.
Patrick Aiken, Darren Parker and John Ojo each had interceptions for Florida A&M while Michael Ducre had eight tackles for the Rattlers. FAMU only allowed 88 yards passing on the day while giving up 132 yards on the ground.
FAMU sprinted out to a 20-0 first-half lead after touchdowns by quarterback Damien Fleming and running back Omar Albert. Chris Varnadore added two field goals. Mississippi Valley State rallied by scoring 10 points during a 13-minute second half span with a field goal by Cherchen Galon and a 2-yard touchdown by quarterback Jeremy Collins.
By the Ratters stiffened up again, shutting the Delta Devils down the rest of the way. FAMU running back Al-Terek McBurse closed out the game with a 14-yard touchdown. McBurse led FAMU with 55 yards rushing. Albert added 47. Fleming 110 yards passing and 38 yards on the ground. Mississippi Valley State's Patrick Ivy finished with 74 yards rushing, with a long run of 64 yards.
Florida A&M hosts Tennessee State next Saturday while Mississippi Valley State hosts Delta State.