GAME PLANNED: B-CU, TSU Get Match-Up They Wanted
By Dan Ryan
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day of 2009, Bethune-Cookman's Brian Jenkins and Tennessee State's Roderick Reed were named Head Football Coaches at their respective universities. No sooner than they signed their contracts, the two longtime coaching friends' next move was to get a game between their two teams.
The efforts pay off Saturday when Jenkins' Wildcats and Reed's Tigers meet at Municipal Stadium in the B-CU Hall of Fame Game. Kickoff is 4 p.m.
"God took him a different route and I was able to be blessed with this opportunity," Jenkins said during Tuesday's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Coaches' Teleconference. "Coach Reed and I immediately wanted this match-up. We thought it would have some added excitement."
This week differs from whatever excitement playing an FBS team has in that two storied HBCU programs are facing off in a game that has additional benefits. It's almost as good as a Classic.
"It's a win-win," Jenkins said. "You have two quality staffs and two conferences who have an urge to make the playoffs."
Facing a member of the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) could help Bethune-Cookman, or any other Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference program for that matter, when the FCS decision makers are putting together playoff brackets in November.
"We've reached out to many OVC schools and Coach Reed was the only one who stepped up and made this happen," Jenkins said. "I want to play the OVC schools. We're all in the same boat - we need to play each other and eliminate any question of whether the MEAC can play. I assure you we can. We have coaches in this conference who can put a good product out on the field."
For this week, Jenkins is concentrating on improving his team's execution following the Miami loss and a Tigers team that enters the weekend sitting at 3-0 after a 38-14 victory over Austin Peay last Saturday. Trabis Ward has rushed for 287 yards and five touchdowns, while Michael German has thrown for 718 yards and five scores.
"TSU has a tremendous quarterback who does so many things well and good running backs. Evidently they're doing something right," Jenkins said. "Our focus is on our preparation and doing what we do best."