WILBERFORCE, Ohio — Records fell for the no. 22 ranked Southwest Baptist University Bearcats on Saturday, as SBU football picked up a 54-34 victory over Central State. With the win, SBU improves to 9-1 (6-1 GLVC) on the season to once again improve upon the record number of wins in program history. Bubba Jenkins also broke the SBU single season rushing record, as he now stands at 1,411 rushing yards on the season, while TJ Edwards tied the SBU single season passing touchdown record with 31.
The Bearcats opened the game on fire, scoring touchdowns on their first five possessions. After electing to receive the kickoff SBU wasted no time, scoring their first touchdown in 1:34. Jenkins ripped off rushes of 15 and 9 yards, and after passes from Edwards to Cassian Foreman and Kendrick Payne, the Bearcats punched it from 2 yards out for Jenkins first rushing score of the game and a 7-0 lead. However, CSU responded with a TD of their own as the game would be tied 7-7.
On the following drive Jenkins continued his strong ground game, rushing for 15 yards before Edwards found Scottie Wilson for 13 yards and Payne for 12 yards. Jenkins then picked up 12 more yards on the ground before Edwards found Foreman in the back of the endzone with a 13 yard touchdown pass to re-take the lead at 14-7. After the defense forced a three-and-out, the SBU offense went back to work. A pair of short passes from Edwards would eventually set up a 27-yard touchdown pass to Wilson to give the Bearcats a 20-7 lead.
The SBU defense once again stepped up, on only the third play of the drive D’Angelo Tucker forced a CSU fumble to give the ball back to the Bearcats in Central State territory. SBU used short completions, coupled with a couple of short runs from Jenkins and Edwards, before Jenkins found the endzone from four yards out to extend the lead to 27-7 as the first quarter ended.
To open up the second quarter, the defense again forced a three-and-out and a 40-yard punt return by Wilson gave the Bearcats the ball on the CSU 20-yardline. SBU needed one play, a 20-yard touchdown pass to Payne, to take a 34-7 lead. Scoring would slow down for the Bearcats for the remainder of the half, as SBU would eventually go into the break with a 34-13 lead.
Central State came out of the half by marching 79-yards in 6 plays to cut the Bearcat lead to 34-20. After the teams traded possessions, Edwards hit Foreman with a 48-yard pass down the sideline to set up a redzone opportunity. Jenkins then punched in his third touchdown run of the day, this one from 5 yards out, to extend the lead to 40-20.
In the fourth quarter Central State continued to hang around, adding another touchdown as SBU’s lead was back to 13 at 40-27. However, the Bearcats promptly responded. After a 41-yard kickoff return by Payne gave the ball to SBU in CSU territory, Edwards then found Payne down the sideline for a 39-yard touchdown reception and a 47-27 lead. The defense forced a turnover-on-downs before Payne hauled in his third receiving touchdown of the afternoon, a 40-yard pass from Edwards, to extend the lead to 54-27. CSU added a late touchdown, but the Bearcats would roll to a 54-34 victory.
Bubba Jenkins broke the SBU single season rushing record with 183 yards rushing on 29 carries to go along with 3 touchdowns. TJ Edwards had another outstanding day, throwing for 323 yards on 21-34 passing with 5 touchdowns to tie the SBU single season touchdown record. Kendrick Payne had his strongest performance of the season, hauling in 12 grabs for 174 yards and 3 touchdowns. Defensively Shaun Hutchinson, Brycen Gagnon, and Jamehl Wilson all had a team high 11 tackles, while Jamehl Wilson had a team high 3.0 tackles for loss.
SBU will return to action on Saturday, November 12 for their final regular season contest against Lincoln. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. from Jefferson City, Missouri.