BELIEVE THE HYPE: This Game is BIG...
Every game is a big game in Brian Jenkins' mantra, but this Saturday truly ranks among the biggest games Bethune-Cookman has played in Daytona Beach.
With the Wildcats and North Carolina Central Eagles both 4-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the 4 p.m. kickoff will go a long way in determining if either team is still playing when the FCS playoffs begin November 24. By definition, this counts as a BIG game.
It's a quirk in the schedule that very few BIG games are played in the Wildcats' back yard. Since it usually comes down to the Florida Classic each and every year or whatever the records are, October and November Saturdays at Municipal Stadium have been consigned to Homecoming, Senior Day and getting updates from the other games of significance. Until Saturday.
There have been some notable exceptions. Consider:
2002 (Howard) -- Bethune-Cookman clinched the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship with a 46-27 victory that featured Rashean Mathis breaking Dean Cain's Division I-AA single-season interception record.
1998 (Norfolk State) -- Bethune-Cookman had won impressive consecutive road victories at South Carolina State, North Carolina A&T and Hampton, but the Wildcats needed this 59-38 rout to set the stage for a FAMU-BCC title bout at the Florida Classic the next week.
1991 (North Carolina A&T) - Larry Little and J.D. Hall still had a shot at the MEAC title, but this was the Aggies' year as North Carolina A&T pulled away to a 39-24 victory.
1974 (Florida A&M) -- The famed speedway showdown. The Wildcat defense made one stand after another to pull out a 6-0 victory in a game played in the Daytona International Speedway infield.
1968 (Florida A&M) -- The Rattlers had been completely dominating the series - winning games by 97-0 and 68-6 (ouch) but Cy McClairen's team put up their best fight in years before Florida A&M escaped with a 23-20 win.
1952 (Florida A&M) - McClairen's touchdown reception gives Bethune-Cookman an 8-7 win over the Rattlers in the most-celebrated victory in the history of Wildcat football.
NOTE: Bethune-Cookman hosted NCAA playoff games in 2003 and 2010.