Oct. 16, 2010

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Defense Rules the Day in Orangeburg; 'Cats Shutout 'Dogs 14-0

B-CU posts first MEAC road shutout since 2000 to silence SCSU's 21-game conference win streak

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Bethune-Cookman quarterback Matthew Johnson scrambles away from S.C. State linebacker La'Taris Douglas during the first half of the Wildcats 14-0 victory at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium Saturday. (photo by BRIAN LINDER/thebulldogzone.com)

Bethune-Cookman quarterback Matthew Johnson scrambles away from S.C. State linebacker La'Taris Douglas during the first half of the Wildcats 14-0 victory at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium Saturday. (photo by BRIAN LINDER/thebulldogzone.com)

Oct. 16, 2010

By Dan Ryan - www.B-CUathletics.com Call Football Contact Michael Stambaugh for more details - 386.481.2278 -

ORANGEBURG, S.C. - Defense did triumph over offense Saturday, but it was the Bethune-Cookman defense that took the day in the 23rd ranked Wildcats' stunning 14-0 victory over 10th ranked South Carolina State before 10,077 at Oliver C. Dawson Stadium.

The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference triumph kept Bethune-Cookman undefeated at 6-0 (4-0) and snapped the 21-game conference winning streak of the two-time defending champion Bulldogs, now 4-2 (2-1 MEAC).

"My assistants came up with a great game plan and I tell you what, the guys came out and executed it to the best of their abilities," said Bethune-Cookman Head Coach Brian Jenkins. "They put us in a very good position. It was a good family effort."

"We kept swinging," Jenkins added. "We tabbed this game a heavyweight fight and we said we were taking it 15 rounds, and if it would go 15, we'd be going toe-to-toe."

All week long, the emphasis was the match-up between a Wildcat offense ranked in the number one slot in NCAA Division I FCS in total offense and scoring offense, against the Bulldogs' top-ranked defense.

Instead, the B-CU defense, ranked ninth in the FCS, posted B-CU's first road conference shutout since a 35-0 victory over Howard in 2000, by forcing four Bulldog turnovers and denying four South Carolina State scoring threats inside the B-CU 20 during the fourth quarter.

"South Carolina State was the top defense, we just were right behind them," said linebacker Ryan Lewis, who ended two of those possessions with interceptions and Reggie Sandilands another, as they keyed a defense that held the Bulldogs to 264 total yards. "We knew what we could do."

"I can't take credit for those," Lewis said about his plays. "The d-line was coming hard and the corners were pressing ... I was just in the middle trying to make a play. This was about taking mental reps and being where I was supposed to be."

Offensively, B-CU's offense was held 35 points below average, but the Wildcats scored when they needed to.

Quarterback Matt Johnson, who finished 17-of-28 for 198 yards, orchestrated the key 90-yard third quarter march that resulted in Androse Bell's 1-yard run and a 14-0 Wildcat lead.

"We knew it wasn't going to be a high scoring game," Johnson said. "It was going to be who made the least mistakes. We did our part, and the defense was the backbone. You can't get better than a shutout."

From there, Lewis and the defense took over. In addition to the turnovers, B-CU got a break when SCSU backup quarterback Yari King fumbled inside the B-CU five-yard line and the ball rolled out of the end zone for a touchback.

B-CU had two first quarter scoring threats that came up empty, one when Bell was stopped short on a fourth down rush and another when a penalty and sack moved the Wildcats out of range.

The Wildcats broke through in the second quarter when JeVaughn Reams set up his own touchdown.

Reams made a diving 33-yard catch to put the ball on the S.C. State 17. Two plays later, wide receiver Maurice Francois, who played quarterback last year, connected with Reams on the perfectly-executed trick play for a 16-yard score with 4:51 left in the half.

Bell finished with 52 yards on 11 carries to lead B-CU rushers, while Reams caught five passes for 86 yards and Pat Brown four receptions for 67.

Defensively, Sandilands had 6.5 tackles and Ryan Davis six. Erik Williams had a fumble recovery while punter Kory Kowalski pinned the Bulldogs three times inside their 20.