There hasn’t been a lot to write home about in Daytona Beach this fall but on Thursday night, the Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman finally gave fans something to be happy about. Raymond Woodie Jr’s team had lost six straight games and hadn’t won any against SWAC opponents. Both of those skids came to an end with a 20-7 victory over visiting Mississippi Valley State.
Things started slowly for both teams but especially Bethune-Cookman. On their second drive of the evening, the Wildcats fell victim to an early turnover when quarterback Tylik Bethea fumbled the ball near midfield. Delta Devils DB Brandon Williams. MVSU was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, though.
Bethune-Cookman would draw first blood on their next series thanks to a trick play. Freshman running back Mar’kai Shaw laced a 41-yard pass to wideout Tink Boyd. Boyd took it the distance for the first of his two touchdowns on the night and the Wildcats took a 7-0 lead.
The Delta Devils attempted to answer the score with a long drive. Quarterback Ty’Jarian Williams led a 10-play, 60-yard march that lasted nearly five minutes and got the offense down well inside Wildcats territory. Kicker Geno Tulimero, however, missed a 32-yard field goal try that would have given Mississippi Valley State its first points.
Williams would again have the chance to get the Delta Devils on the board shortly after towards the end of the first quarter but instead tossed an untimely interception to Omari Hill-Robinson. Bethea connected with Boyd for an eight-yard touchdown early in the second to extend the lead to 14-0.
MVSU again strung together another impressive drive but once more a missed field goal would nullify all their progress. This time it was Alexander Davis that missed a 31-yard try and the visitors were still scoreless.
The Wildcats would tack on three more right before the half and led 17-0 at the break.
The kicking troubles carried into the second half and Davis missed again early in the third. Fortunately for the Delta Devils, Bethune-Cookman’s Cade Hechter lost his touch as well and failed on a 35-yard try.
It gave them a chance to cut the lead midway through the quarter. Jaydyn Sisk and Jared Wilson got the MVSU offense into the red zone. Wilson finished it off from there with a one-yard TD run to nab the first points of the evening for the Delta Devils.
Leading by ten, the Wildcats offense picked a bad time to go cold. On their next two possessions, Bethea and company gained a total of 16 yards and had to punt away twice. It would be a big play from DB Darnell Deas that ended up saving Bethune-Cookman from relinquishing their advantage any further. Deas picked off Sisk late in the third. The turnover led to three more points.
Now down 20-7 in the final quarter, MVSU was starting to get desperate. For the third time of the evening, the Delta Devils orchestrated a drive that was at least ten plays long but came up empty. The offense took 16 snaps on the series but from the Bethune-Cookman five-yard line on fourth down, Williams’ pass to Jaxson Davis fell incomplete, sealing their fate.
Mississippi Valley State loses their eighth game of the season. Both Sisk and Williams finished their night with an interception while Wilson led the ground attack with 55 yards and the team’s lone score. Davis came away with 92 receiving yards on five catches.
Bethune-Cookman, meanwhile, improves to 2-7 and 1-5 in SWAC play. Bethea completed 12-of-18 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. Jimmie Robinson III ran for 61 yards on 19 carries and Boyd hauled in both of the squad’s touchdowns.
The Wildcats stay home next week to face Alabama A&M while MVSU welcomes in Alabama State next Saturday.