The Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) Wildcats hosts defending Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) champion Alabama A&M University Bulldogs at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach on Thursday.

The game is the home opener and first game as a member of the SWAC for the Wildcats. It will also be nationally televised on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m.

Intro to SWAC

“It’s a big game for all of those reasons but honestly as it is it’s a football game. We aren’t building it up more than that. We’re playing the SWAC champs and it’s our introduction to the SWAC. It’s big because it’s the next game,” said Terry Sims, B-CU’s head football coach.

Bethune-Cookman (0-2, 0-0) is coming off losses to the University of Central Florida (UCF) 63-14 and the University of Texas El-Paso (UTEP) 38-28.

Despite the losses, the Wildcats have battled, and Coach Sims has learned some things about his football team.

“They have started to gel as a football team. I learned that there is no quit in this football team. They are going to play until the last whistle. Regardless of what else is going on, they are going to play the game. That is something that I admire about this team and excites me about this team,” said Sims.

Genuine respect

Alabama A&M (1-0, 0-0) is coming off a 42-41 win over South Carolina State.

The Bulldogs are the No. 1-ranked team in most HBCU polls, and they are ranked No. 19 in the FCS Coaches poll.

Both coaches have a genuine respect for each other and each others’ programs.

“They’re a great team with athletes. Their offense is explosive, defense flies to the ball and special teams are solid. All that makes you successful,” Sims noted.

“I think their style of play is aggressive. I am a fan of that. They are also aggressive. They play the right way and they’re well-coached.”

Alabama A&M Head Coach Connell Maynor also had nothing to say but good things about the Wildcats during his SWAC weekly presser on Monday.

He is familiar with B-CU and Coach Sims having played against them when he was the head coach at Hampton University.

“It’s going to be tough. They have a good football team. They are solid and always well-prepared. They are disciplined and they play hard,” Maynor said.

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