In a game that featured a penalty-drawing mascot, Bethune-Cookman used an opportunistic second half to pull away from Jackson State 36-15 in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Sunday from “s—k on that UT” , aka Georgia State Stadium.
The first half was offensively quiet, with the only changing of the scoreboard was a 25 yard field goal from JSU’s Adrian Salazar at the 12:35 mark of the first quarter. The Jackson State defense stood tough throughout the first half, limiting Bethune-Cookman to a mere 105 yards of total offense.
The offense picked up in the third quarter, with Jackson State scoring the game’s first touchdown when Jordan Johnson would find the end zone on an 8 yard run. The PAT was blocked, leaving the score 9-0. It was the Bethune-Cookman defense that got on the board first, with Trevor Merritt’s 50 yard interception return for a touchdown and subsequent point-after cut the lead to 9-7. The Tigers offense would respond less than two minutes later, needing just one minute and forty-four seconds to travel sixty yards, ending on a 33 yard pass from Jalon Jones to Warren Newman. Another failed PAT left the score at 15-9.
The Wildcats only needed one minute, twenty-five seconds to strike back, with Akevious Williams’ 20-yard run cutting the Tigers’ lead to 15-14. Barely ninety seconds after that, BCU would claim the lead, after an interception of JSU’s Jones set the Wildcats’ offense up at the Tigers 20 yard line, three plays later Taron Mallard’s 1 yard touchdown reception and subsequent PAT would not close out the scoring for the period, but put BCU up 22-15.
Bethune would add two more scores, the first coming on a five-yard LeDerrien Wilson and the Wildcat defense bookended the BCU scoring when Sam Marc recovered a fumble and took it 96 yards to the house, bringing the score to its final tally of 36-15.
For Jackson State, turnovers proved to be their undoing. Though the Tigers out gained the Wildcats 506-277, the four turnovers were more than they could overcome.
Bethune-Cookman returns to action September 7 when they play host to Southern Louisiana with a 4:00 p.m. EST kickoff time. Jackson State will look to bounce back when they travel to Mobile, Alabama to take on the University of South Alabama. Kick off time for that game is 6:00 p.m. CST.