DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bethune-Cookman blocked two South Carolina State field goal attempts in the final seconds to preserve a 12-9 win over the Bulldogs Saturday at Municipal Stadium.

The Bulldogs had moved from their own 32-yard line to the Wildcat 26 when they called on placekicker Tyler Scandrett for a 36-yard field goal that would have tied the contest. But the Wildcats’ Uriah Gilbert got his hands up and deflected the attempt. However, the official ruled he had been helped by leaping up on a teammate’s back, giving S.C. State another opportunity at a tying field goal. But, B-CU’s Delwaun Beard broke through to block Scandrett’s 42-yard attempt, preserving the win for the host.

“We fought hard, we played our hearts out, but we didn’t win the ballgame,” Bulldog head coach Buddy Pough said after the loss. “We needed to make another play or two. We must play better if we are to have a chance to win a football game.”

The Bulldog defense, led by Darius Leonard with 15 tackles (8 solos) and Dayshawn with 13 (9 solos) kept the Wildcats out of the end zone, but Uriel Hernandez made four of five field goals to give his team the victory. His four field goals tied a school record. His 32-yarder with 12:09 left in the game proved to be the difference.

“It was a frustrating loss,” Pough said. “We got ourselves in a position to win the game but we just didn’t execute in those final critical seconds. But you never expect to get two field goals blocked. We have to go back and look at the film and see where the breakdowns occurred.”

The loss dropped SC State to 2-4 on the season and 1-3 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. B-CU climbed to 3-3 and 2-1 in the league.

Despite a dismal first quarter, in which it had no first downs and gained just nine yards, S.C. State came back to take a 9-6 lead on a four-yard scoring run by Samuel with 2:50 left in the half. Samuels' scoring run completed a nine-play, 50-yard march by the Bulldogs, which took 3:37 off the clock. The extra point try was blocked.

The host Wildcats marched 66 yards in 11 plays to put Hernandez in position for a 32-yard field goal try. The B-CU junior nailed his third 3-pointer of the half to deadlock the contest after two quarters.

Bethune-Cookman had taken a 6-0 lead with field goals of 34 and 37 yards – the first coming with 9:22 left in the opening period, the second with 14 minutes on the second quarter clock.

S.C. State came back to close the gap to 6-3 when Scandrett nailed a 34-yard field goal with 8:32 left in the half, culminating a 10-play, 68-yard drive. The teams went to the locker room deadlocked at 9-9. There was no other scoring until Hernandez’s winning kick in the final period.

S.C. State’s Dewann Ford completed 16-32 attempts for 168 yards in the contest. Jermaine Baxley had four catches for 68 yards to lead the Bulldog receivers.

Samuels was the to rusher with 57 yards and a score – the only TD of the game – to spearhead the ground attack.

Wildcat quarterback Larry Brihm Jr. was true on 22 of 34 passing attempts for 234 yards. Keavon Mitchell led the B-CU receivers with five catches for 44 yards.

S.C. State will be on the road for a second consecutive week next Saturday when they travel to Dover, Del., to meet the Delaware State Hornets.

Bill Hamilton retired as sports information director at S.C. State after nearly four decades in the post. He is a member of the MEAC Hall of Fame and the recipient of numerous other honors for his service to the university and journalism. He reports on S.C. State as a correspondent for The Times and Democrat.