Bethune Cookman cruises to victory
Wildcats roll up 500 yards of total offense in season opener
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Bethune Cookman romped past Prairie View A&M 63-14 on Sunday in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge before 17,337 at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Maryland transfer Jamarr Robinson rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Wildcats stormed out to a 42-7 lead at halftime - matching the school record for most points in a half. The Wildcat offense also racked up 318 total yards in the opening stanza, finishing with an even 500.
Robinson totaled 251 yards passing and 30 rushing in his first career start before yielding to David Blackwell after Bethune Cookman took a 49-7 lead after Isidore Jackson's second TD on the opening drive of the second half. Jackie Wilson saw fourth-quarter action and led the Wildcats to a pair of scoring drives.
Head coach Brian Jenkins stated that the decision who would be his starting quarterback was a tough one. Robinson made it look like a no-brainer.
"It was a tight battle up to the very end," said Jenkins about who would replace Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of The Year Matt Johnson. "We're still confident with the other guys, but we felt that Jamaar should be the guy."
After Jarkevis Fields stuffed Prairie View A&M on fourth down to end the Panthers' opening possession, Robinson made his first impression quick and memorable, leading the Wildcats on a 64-yard scoring march. He completed all four passes on the drive and capped off the march with a 10-yard keeper that gave his team a 7-0 lead with 10:11 remaining in the opening quarter.
"I expected to come out quick," Robinson said. "It just felt good to be back out there and to compete."
The punting game set up the next two Wildcat scores -- Jackson's 1-yarder with 1:24 remaining in the opening quarter and Robinson's second rush -- as Patrick Harris made a 27-yard return sparked by a Tavaris Bell block and Nick Addison then blocked a punt.
After that, Bethune Cookman's defense made the most of its opportunities to score as DJ Howard and Reggie Sandilands returned Panther fumbles for two of the Wildcats' four touchdowns in the second quarter.
"We're selfish on defense, even though we're a family," Sandilands said. "We all want to make a big play. Defense doesn't get to touch the ball that often. We execute our plays -- alignment, assignment and technique is what wins games."
Byron McLeod, one of twelve different Wildcat receivers to catch at least one pass, made it 42-0 on a three-yard reception from Robinson 5:09 before halftime.
Prairie View broke up the shutout on an 11-yard pass from Jonathan Troast to Deandre Cooper with 3:45 remaining in the half.
Anthony Jordan scored twice in the fourth quarter for the Wildcats. Scott led the Wildcat rushers with 67 yards on eight carries, followed by Jackson with 59 on nine. Maurice Francois and Preston Cleckley each had four catches.
The defense finished with six turnovers forced. Fields, who led the team with seven tackles along with Al-Ghaffar Lane, had an interception, while Sandilands and Howard added an additional fumble recovery and interception, respectively. Andrew Ferris recovered a fourth-quarter fumble punt.