FAU welcomes Bethune-Cookman to Howard Schnellenberger Field on Saturday looking to throttle the Wildcats like they did last season – in a 45-0 rout.
Like FAU, B-CC split its first two games of 2018.
The Wildcats were decimated 34-3 by fellow FCS opponent Tennessee State in Week 1 and took down the Dragons of Virginia-Lynchburg 79-16 in Week 2.
While that Week 2 scoring output might look impressive on the surface, take it with a grain of salt.
Virginia University of Lynchburg is a member of the NCCAA. No, not the NCAA, instead, the National Christian College Athletics Association. Not exactly the most daunting opponent.
If there’s ever a week to get the running game going, it’s this one. Last season the Owls ran for 439 yards against the Wildcats – doing so on 7.6 per tote.
The Owls’ main focus this week is likely keeping everybody healthy heading into next week’s big-time road game against UCF.
THE FILE : FAU (1-1, 0-0) vs. Bethune-Cookman (1-1, 0-0)
Bethune-Cookman deploys a two-quarterback attack featuring a dynamic runner in Akevious Williams and a more traditional pocket passer in David Israel. Through two games Williams has vastly outperformed his fellow signal caller – 25-for-36, four touchdowns, and one interception compared to 10-for-19, two touchdowns, and a pair of picks – yet the Wildcats continue to split their reps and list Israel as the starter. There’s a running back-by-committee approach for Bethune-Cookman on the ground. The lead back, Tupac Isme, has only nine carries for 35 yards over his team’s first two games.
Offensive Players to Watch:
- 10 Akevious Williams, R-Jr, QB: His team’s leading rusher and passer, Williams is the driving force of the Bethune-Cookman offense. The Madison product has amassed 543 total yards and five scores this season despite sharing snaps with the aforementioned Israel.
- 6 Malique Jackson, R-Jr, WR: An explosive big-play threat out on the perimeter, Jackson is averaging 40-plus yards a catch over the first two games of the season. He’s made the most of what has been a limited opportunity thus far, converting five catches into a couple of touchdowns and a team-leading 225 yards.
- 1 Keavon Mitchell, Sr, WR: Mitchell is the more consistent, every down target for the Wildcats. He leads his team in receptions over the Wildcats’ first two games (8), picking up 91 yards and a score to go along with those grabs.
The Wildcats defensive plan centers around getting after the passer. They are an aggressive bunch in that department, generating eight sacks as a team over their first two games. Given B-CC’s tendency to try and shoot the gaps fast and and make plays in the backfield, the defense can be exploited for big gains on the ground when they over pursue and miss. Tennessee State, the Wildcats Week 1 opponent, did exactly that, rushing for over 200 yards in their matchup.
Defensive Players to Watch:
- 21 Tydarius Peters, Jr, S: A playmaker in the Wildcats’ secondary, he took a pick 38 yards to the house in Week 2 along with batting away two passes thrown his way. He’s shown proficiency near the line of scrimmage as well, picking up a sack in that same game.
- 19 Marquis Hendrix, R-Jr, MLB: A former Boise State Bronco, Hendrix played two years at the JUCO level before signing with Bethune-Cookman in 2017. He made an immediate impact in his first season, leading the team in tackles (70). The Wildcats’ man-in-the-middle has 10 stops through two games of the 2018 season.
- 48 Marques Ford, R-Jr, DE: Ford leads the charge for the aggressive pass rush of Bethune-Cookman. A constant presence in the backfield, he has a team-high 3.5 sacks this season and 4.5 of his 11 tackles have come behind the line of scrimmage.