|Running back Anthony Jordan currently leads Bethune-Cookman in rushing. (BCU photo)|
South Carolina State at Bethune-Cookman
Prior to the season, these two teams were picked to finish 1-2 in the MEAC. With two thirds of the season behind them, both have lived up to expectations so far. BCU enters the game 5-1, with its lone loss to ACC leader Florida State. SC State enters the game 5-2, having won its last five games after opening the season with losses to a ranked Coastal Carolina team and in-state FBS rival Clemson.
Bethune-Cookman and South Carolina State have basically the same blueprint for success: play solid, ball control offense and smashmouth defense. Their stats are eerily similar with both teams scoring over 30 points per game while holding opponents below 17 points per contest. Both teams are loaded in the backfield, having a combined five players with at least 200 yards rushing and two touch downs through their first seven games.
They Can Pass, Too
Two of the best players on the field Saturday will be receivers: Bethune-Cookman’s Eddie Poole, and South Carolina State’s Tyler McDonald. Poole enters the game with 17 catches, which isn’t a lot, but it makes sense given how much BCU relies on the run. McDonald has been aruguably the conference’s best offensive player, catching 27 passes and five touchdowns so far. Most impressively, he’s averaging a whopping 22 yards per catch. Needless to say, he’s a threat to score every time he touches the ball.
For all intents and purposes, this game is the de facto MEAC championship game. The winner will control its destiny as the MEAC championship race winds down, the loser will have to win out and hope that either the other team slips up or rely on the possibilty of receiving an at-large bid. Safe to say, this is the biggest MEAC game of the year.
Despite its stellar record, BCU hasn’t really had a “wow, these guys are really that good” moment yet. And yes, I’m including that FIU win. But when you go back to the first win of the season and see how the Wildcats were able to grind out a win against a great Tennessee State defense on the road, I feel a little more safe about picking them this week.