EIGHT STRAIGHT IS GREAT
By: Dan Ryan, Senior Writer/Historian
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – There will come a day where the meek shall inherit the earth. On that day, mountains will crumble; seas will dry up and yield their dead; both CNN and Fox News will present accurate, unbiased, non-personality driven journalism; and after a long delay, Lil' Wayne will release "The Carter VI." And on that day, the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats might lose aFlorida Blue Florida Classicto the Florida A&M Rattlers.
I only said "might."
And you know what?
THAT DAY DANG SURE WASN'T SATURDAY, WAS IT?
EIGHT STRAIGHT IS GREAT!
Okay, gotta settle down. This is a sports column for a faith-based institution's web site. Gotta present facts. Already dropped Matthew 5:5. Gotta heed the counsel – "Sit down. Be humble."
Before the largest Florida Classic crowd since 2011, the Wildcats scored the game's final 16 points, thus giving them more points in the allotted time of competition for the eighth consecutive year ….Even that sounds like smack, doesn't it?
But let's be realistic. It will probably happen. Law of averages … All Good Things Must End … yada yada yada.
Even a broken clock gets it right once a cycle … that last random cliché had nothing to do with our friends from the "Highest of The Seven Hills". Really.
If it does happen, it's going to be due to some inside football thing. Third down execution (0-11?). Giving up 465 yards on defense? Fifty-six percent of your total offense (234 of 417) coming on four plays? Penalties (14-131?) or some mistake that a team shouldn't be making in November that the message board Maddens and living in their parents' basement Belichicks will pounce upon to prove they have the slightest modicum of gridiron savvy.
Exasperating as all get out to watch? Of course. Funny, though, how all those frustrations expunge themselves in the time it takesTydarius Petersto scoot 90 yards on a game-clinching pick six.
Could try to tell you the reasons that won't contribute to that great and dreadful day of defeat happening, but you would have to have been on the Camping World Stadium field and in the locker room to fully understand. It's the first thing you see and feel after you ask yourselves "Just how many guys does this team have on crutches?"
Akevious Williamswas one of those guys on crutches. He was about 10-15 feet away from the main celebrations and the trophy presentations, close enough to be a part of it, but also kind of presiding. How was he feeling?
"Best feeling ever," he said, not moping the slightest that he's been out since the North Carolina A&T game. "This is what it's all about."
The funny thing about football is that you can tell when the players aren't just playing for themselves, but they're willing to slam into walls for each other and their coach – especially their head coach, who puts them in position to make plays. In Saturday's case, make BIG plays.
Late second quarter. That third down thing we weren't good at gives Florida A&M just under two minutes before half to work with. The only truly impressive sequence the Rattler offense had all day – yeah, the fake field goal was cute, but FAMU had to settle for just three points – producing a 13-7 halftime lead.
How does Bethune-Cookman respond? Only with the longest play from scrimmage in school history – and matching the longest play in Florida Classic history from scrimmage as well.
Tupac Isme, sort of forgotten duringJimmie Robinson's32 points in 37 touches scoreapalooza against Morgan State and North Carolina Central, gets one block fromJonathon Thomasand just like that, it's 14-13.
Terry Simsloves this team because it's resilient.
Vernon Walker III, playing in his hometown, gets beat on a touchdown pass that gives FAMU the lead, makes another one of those improbable plays BCU's gotten good at this year 30 seconds later with a blocked PAT return that turns it into a tie game.
Now comesDavid Israel, whose stat line at Morgan State was 0-4 with one interception. He went all Elway in the fourth quarter on that drive against North Carolina Central that sent the game into overtime, and he delivered another fourth quarter drive against FAMU (3-3 for 61 yards) -- that put BCU ahead 26-19.
It was Peters after that.
Sure, just let the Rattlers get into the red zone twice with under four to go. It's also 2018 in a nutshell and gets Peters the MVP award. There's a joke about how the balloting was amended thanks to those two picks happening in the final five minutes, but this is Florida and we can't get any voting right, so………
There were other big moments –Steffon Francois'balancing act on his 48-yard first-quarter reception that led to BCU's first scoring andTodney Evans'denying the Rattlers of at least 10 points with his defensive stops and maybe a few others that can be added after this posts.
The bigger moments are these. Actually, the best moments that everyone outside that locker room – leave those to those players and coaches - are 7-5. Third winning season in the last four years. Two of those losses to FBS teams.
Bethune-Cookman 33, Florida A&M 19.
Eight straight is great.
Nine would be fine, though.
That other day can wait.