By JAMAL THALJI
© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 11, 2001
The numbers tell a different story.
Bethune-Cookman had 76 years of football history to count on Saturday, Florida Atlantic just two weeks. B-CC outgained FAU 525 yards to 277. B-CC had 25 first downs, FAU had 11. B-CC punted just twice, FAU six times. FAU still was missing 10 players from its Sept. 1 season-opener, and B-CC had a full roster.
But these are the only numbers that matter now and forever: FAU 31, B-CC 28.
The Wildcats (1-1), once ranked No. 22 in the Sports Network Division I-AA poll but no longer, are the answer to a trivia question: Who did the Owls (1-1) earn their first victory against?
A Municipal Stadium crowd of 7,421 watched B-CC kicker Danny Mathis attempt to tie the score with 8 seconds left, but his 47-yard field-goal attempt fell wide right and appeared to be tipped at the line of scrimmage.
B-CC fumbled six times and lost four of them. Quarterback Allen Suber, a Tampa Catholic product, fumbled twice. Two fumbles were lost inside the FAU 1-yard line, and one was returned 99 yards for a score by FAU's Taurian Osborn.
FAU had 13 players declared ineligible by the NCAA before the season-opener against Slippery Rock, and the result was a 40-7 loss to the Division II foe. Coach Howard Schnellenberger went from rock bottom to new heights in the span of a week.
"This win has more feeling in it than any other I've ever been associated with," he told the Orlando Sentinel. "To get up off the mat this way after last week says so much about our players."
B-CC coach Alvin Wyatt saw his team drop from No. 5 to No. 10 in the Sheridan Broadcasting Historically Black College Football poll and drop completely from the Sports Network Top 25.
"It's the worst loss I've ever experienced," Wyatt told the Sentinel. "Worse than anything that Florida A&M has done to us. We had our chances to win and we just didn't get the job done."
ARE YOU READY?: Grambling is No. 1 in the Sheridan poll. Florida A&M is No. 2. Grambling is 2-0 and undefeated in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. FAMU is also 2-0, and undefeated in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. FAMU is No. 8 in the Sports Network poll, Grambling No. 15.
The two meet at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Riverfront Classic in Cincinnati at the new Paul Brown Stadium. It's a huge game for both teams, and not only could a Division I-AA playoff berth be on the line, but the mythical historically black college football national title as well.
HELP WANTED: The good news: Central Florida sophomore tailback Alex Haynes is living up to his recruiting hype, rushing 20 times for 107 yards against Syracuse to become the first UCF back to hit the century mark in two seasons.
The bad news: Nearly ever other facet of the UCF offense faltered in Saturday's 21-10 loss to Syracuse in front of 35,938 at the Carrier Dome.
The offensive line couldn't keep the Orangemen pass rushers, led by end Dwight Freeney, out of the backfield. Under pressure, quarterback Ryan Schneider completed just 9-of-26 for 140 yards and an interception. That was his lowest yardage in nine starts. He left twice, once with a cramp -- the Carrier Dome isn't air-conditioned, and the heat felled many Knights -- and again with a sprained left knee.
Backup Brian Miller wasn't much better, completing 4-of-8 for 113 yards and an interception, and incurring three penalties: two for intentional grounding and one for throwing past the line of scrimmage.
The receivers were another disappointment. Jimmy Fryzel caught three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown and Thad Ward caught three for 50 -- and they led the team. The team dropped five passes, with Fryzel dropping a touchdown pass and a long gainer.
Take away Miller's 56-yard Hail Mary touchdown to Doug Gabriel as time expired in the first half, and the offensive numbers look even worse.
- Times news researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this report, which uses information from other news organizations.