You might think beating a league foe 67-17, while piling up more than 600 offensive yards, would lead to an easy week for Bethune-Cookman.
Nope. Instead, first-year coach Brian Jenkins drilled in on some things he didn’t like during the Rattlers’ dismantling of North Carolina A&T last week.
“I’m not happy with the defense right now,” Jenkins said. “I feel like we could have played a lot of better. We’ve got to get it together if we want to stay on the pace we are on.”
Though they forced five turnovers, the league-leading Wildcats (8-0, 5-0 MEAC) saw Mike Mayhew go for 211 yards on 31 carries — one of the Top 10 performances ever for a North Carolina A&T rusher.
Maybe that’s not so surprising, considering that Mayhew leads the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference with 1,042 yards rushing this season — and is also among the top 20 rushers in championship subdivision with more than 115 yards per game.
Jenkins, instead, said he felt like the Wildcat defense was caught sitting — or, should I say, relaxing — on a big lead. Bethune-Cookman’s offense, after all, had put up 39 points before the power outage-delayed halftime show.
“That’s what we can’t do,” Jenkins said. “In the past, we haven’t done that, but I saw a little bit of that. That’s upsetting and that’s not the way we do things in this program. Regardless of the score, I expect flawless execution — and we didn’t get that.”
[Florida A&M can’t afford to overlook one-win North Carolina A&T.]
Jenkins also mentioned problems with the kicking game, which kept Bethune-Cookman from reaching 70 points by missing on a field goal and three extra point attempts.
A wake-up call could be headed Bethune’s way, as the Wildcats face a Hampton group that’s also in control of its own destiny in the conference. The team that wins out claims both the MEAC title and an automatic FCS playoff bid.
“When we execute, we’re pretty good,” Jenkins said. “But when we are not disciplined, we give up plays that we shouldn’t give up defense or we don’t capitalize on things on the offensive side of the ball.”