B-CU’s football team struggles to find its way in new season


By Sidney Brown

The Sports Fanatic

Well, the excitement of the college football season has finally returned! Millions of fans and college students around the country are eager to head out "safely" to their school's football stadium for game day.

As a Bethune-Cookman University student, I definitely missed all of the cheers, boo's, waving towels, tailgating and the roar at Daytona Beach's Municipal Stadium when the Wildcats come running onto the field before the start of games. However, so far, excitement has turned into disappointment for B-CU students, fans and alumni.

Don't get me wrong. We all know that Wildcats hadn't played a football game since the end of the 2019 season. But the team has come up short in its first four outings, most recently losing to Alabama State, 38-24. The Hornets came into the stadium with a 1-1 record.

The Wildcats are slated to take the field Saturday, Oct. 2 against the Bulldogs of South Carolina State in Orangeburg, in a game that will be televised on ESPN. Let's hope the 'Cats can come through.

Looking back on the season opening, it begs to note a few things. The team got its first opportunity Sept. 4 against the Miners from The University of Texas at El Paso. After all that time off, the Wildcats had a strong showing but ended up on the losing end, 38-28. The team's second game was Sept. 11, against the University of Central Florida in Orlando. As expected, the Wildcats struggled against the UCF Knights and got trounced in an embarrassing 63-14 loss.

However, everyone knows that these first two games are considered "money games," meaning that the more athletically talented PWI programs pay HBCUs to play their teams and make themselves look good.

Five days later, the Wildcats were welcomed into the Southwestern Athletic Conference on Sept. 16, in their first conference matchup against the Alabama A&M Bulldogs at home. The Bulldogs came out firing from the start on offense, leading 27-13 going into halftime right after a 12-yard passing touchdown on the final play of the half for the Bulldogs.

At one point, the Wildcats looked to make a comeback. They narrowed the score to 27-21 after a late third quarter touchdown. In the fourth quarter, the Wildcat defense only allowed the Bulldogs to score a field goal for the rest of the night and the offense scored another touchdown several minutes later, changing the score to 30-27 (missed 2-point conversion). After another defensive stop, the Wildcats had the ball left with 4:02 left to go in the game.

B-CU Quarterback Shannon Patrick helped march the offense past midfield to Alabama A&M's 37-yard line, just out of field goal range. Unfortunately, the offense moved no further, and on 4th down, Patrick's pass was intercepted with 1:14 left to go in the game, ultimately resulting in the Wildcats falling short in a 30-27 loss to the Bulldogs.

The Wildcats were predicted to finish 6th in the SWAC to begin the season. If the Wildcats don't find a way to turn their season around, they could find themselves in a deep hole as they go deeper into conference play.

I predict that the Wildcats will bounce back and prove that they can compete with the tough SWAC competition.

Sidney P. Brown is a mass communications major who aspires to be a professional sports journalist.