tampabay.com

B-CC hit hard by QB injuries

By IZZY GOULD
Published September 29, 2006


Somehow, Bethune-Cookman's quarterbacks lasted long enough Saturday to mount a 22-21 come-from-behind victory over Norfolk State.

"If we had to go one more drive, I don't think either quarterback would have made it," B-CC coach Alvin Wyatt told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "We were already contemplating using (slotback) Eric Weems (at quarterback) and have him do some rollouts and sweeps."

Wildcats quarterbacks Jarod Rucker and Jimmie Russell each suffered injuries, leaving many to wonder what Plan C is if both are out this week. Rucker injured his knee and Russell was to have an MRI on his leg after hurting it during a two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter.

A B-CC spokesman said Thursday that Rucker is the projected starter.

Wyatt told the News-Journal backup receiver Victor Johnson or freshman quarterback Matt Johnson could see action if Rucker and Russell can't go.

Other injuries include receiver Paul Neufville (season-ending knee injury), linebacker Ronnie McCullough (knee), cornerback Avery Atkins (side) and Jonathon Summers (sore knee).

Atkins, who transferred from Florida, got hurt in the South Carolina State game, Wyatt said, and is out this week. McCullough, who transferred from USF, is expected to start Saturday's game against Morgan State.

"We really missed the speed of Neufville and Summers, but our defense is just as bad," Wyatt said. "Losing Ronnie and Avery is huge for us. We had depth, and now we don't have it."

B-CC'S AWARDS: Wildcats safety Bobbie Williams was named MEAC defensive player of the week, freshman linebacker Brent Davis was named MEAC rookie of the week and kicker Jesus Cortez was named MEAC special teams player of the week.

Williams earned the honor for a second consecutive week for his three interceptions and five tackles against Norfolk State.

Davis started in place of McCullough and registered seven tackles and a sack.

Cortez kicked a 35-yard field goal with 3:29 left in the game to lift the Wildcats to a one-point victory.

SECOND-HALF SQUAD: Florida A&M has trailed at halftime in all four of its games.

Now the Rattlers are developing a reputation for being a second-half team.

Take both wins.

The Rattlers scored 22 second-half points for a 25-21 victory against Winston-Salem State after trailing 14-3 at halftime. FAMU running back Anthony Edwards scored on a 1-yard run with 36 seconds left in the game.

FAMU also trailed Howard before pulling away with a 31-23 victory. The Rattlers were down 14-10 before two huge fourth-quarter touchdowns by Roosevelt Kiser and Edwards contributed to 21 second-half points.

FAMU has scored 143 second-half points this season and just 34 in the first half.

"We didn't make it easy," FAMU coach Rubin Carter said of Saturday's win. "I don't think we ever make it easy, to be honest with you. ... We were able to come out in the second half feeling a sense of urgency."

FALLING FAST: UCF had its chance to woo a national television audience - and to possibly win some recruiting battles - with its appearance on ESPN2 on Tuesday.

Golden Knights coach George O'Leary has said many times he will bend over backward to get UCF national exposure, hence the Tuesday night game against Conference USA rival Southern Mississippi.

O'Leary opened his locker room so the country could get a glance at his pregame speech through the television camera.

But the Golden Knights would play chaser all night and never catch the Golden Eagles, who won 19-14. UCF, picked to win the C-USA East Division, is 1-3 and off to an 0-1 start in the conference.

UCF gets another chance to play for a national audience Wednesday at Marshall.

And O'Leary certainly hopes UCF will give a stronger performance.

"We have to go out and eliminate those mistakes we made," O'Leary said.

"We are a pretty good football team. We do everything right, it is just a few plays that hurt us. We just have to find a way to eliminate those few plays and we will be all right."