Bethune-Cookman's quirky "Wyattbone" offense hasn't changed much over the years. It certainly didn't look very outdated in the Wildcats' 45-16 victory over Howard in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference football game before 1,067 yesterday at Greene Stadium.
Howard (4-6, 1-6) scored nine points in the final 1 minute 6 seconds of the first half to take a 16-10 lead at halftime. The second half, however, was a much different story.
The Wildcats (7-3, 4-3) scored four touchdowns in 71/2 minutes in the third quarter. The streak culminated with a 13-yard touchdown run by Eric Weems for a 38-16 lead with 5:32 left in the quarter. In the quarter, Bethune-Cookman out-gained Howard 254-23.
The Bison, meantime, went 1-for-7 passing, had one first down and one turnover. They also committed three personal foul penalties in one drive, including a roughing the passer penalty on a third-down play in which the Wildcats came up several yards short of a first down.
"They outplayed us today," said Howard senior safety Antoine Bethea, who had a game-high nine tackles. "In the first half we were good. In the second half, the defense came out flat. [Bethune-Cookman] made a lot of plays."
The Wyattbone offense is the idea of Wildcats Coach Alvin Wyatt. It resembles the flexbone, with a fullback behind the quarterback and two running backs lined up behind the offensive tackles. There are some unique features to this offense, though. The fullbacks are diminutive -- the starter is 5 feet 9, 175 pounds; the backup is 5-9, 190. And the running backs stand while lined up behind the tackles.
"We stand them up because then they can see better," Wyatt said. "We like our fullbacks to be small, because they are also pretty quick."
It certainly works: The Wildcats have had a winning season in each of the past eight years under Wyatt. They also have won four of the past five against Howard.
The Bison entered with the third-ranked rushing defense in Division I-AA (77 yards per game). On the third play yesterday, however, Bethune-Cookman senior Richard Woodbury gained 64 yards on an option pitchout. The Bison held the offense in check for most of the rest of the half -- Bethune-Cookman had 116 yards rushing by halftime.
In the second half, sophomore quarterback Jimmie Russell began pitching the ball more to speedy running backs Weems (83 yards on 12 carries) and Corey Council (44 yards on two carries). The Wildcats finished with 330 yards rushing, the most given up by Howard in at least two years.
Howard was led by senior quarterback Ronald Venters, who finished 10 of 29 for 152 yards and a 16-yard touchdown pass to junior Larry Duncan (C.H. Flowers) with seven seconds left in the first half. He also had a 10-yard touchdown run.
In the end, though, Howard was undone by the unique offense.
"We only see this type of offense once a year," Howard Coach Ray Petty said. "That offense has never changed. Only the personnel changes. . . . That's the most team speed we've seen this year."
* DAVIDSON 10, GEORGETOWN 3: Ryan Alexander threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jonathon Hubbard in the second quarter and the Wildcats' defense forced three turnovers in their first road victory. The Hoyas fell to 4-6; Davidson improved to 4-6.