Against Bethune-Cookman, South Carolina State's defense saved the day.
Saturday against North Carolina Central, South Carolina State's offense, perhaps, one-upped the defense - by saving Homecoming. And the rescue came from the unlikeliest of sources - a backup quarterback and a running back who, until Saturday, looked as if it just wasn't his year.
But, postgame, Asheton Jordan could not hide his smile, and when he heard Bulldogs' head coach Buddy Pough's description of his running style he could barely stop laughing.
"I thought he ran good today," Pough said of Jordan, who entered the game with just 165 rushing yards and hammered the Eagles for 226. "He still runs kind of gangly. I look at him, how he runs, and I say, ‘Oh, there's stuff going everywhere.' He looks like an old '57 Chevy running down the road with one tire that looks like it needs a little air in it. He runs good, and he runs hard sometimes."
"I don't even know what that means," Jordan said trying to contain himself. "But, I guess in (Pough's) eyes that is a good thing."
So, if not a ‘57 Chevy, then what would Jordan liken himself to?
"A horse," Jordan said. "A Bronco."
Jordan certainly looked the part as he bullied the North Carolina Central defense Saturday, but he was not the only Bulldog to come up big in what turned out to be an offensive shootout. Unheralded backup quarterback Richard Cue, thrust into action following starter Derrick Wiley's knee injury against Norfolk State, was efficient, if not stellar, in the first start of his college career, combining for 263 yards of offense and three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing. He threw just seven incompletions.
Asked how much better he felt about his quarterback situation, Pough was quick to answer.
"A bunch," he said. "Let me tell you something, I am a new man today considering where we were when I walked into this stadium today."
A man of few words, Cue was measured in assessing his emotions following the win.
"It feels great," he said. "I just had to come out and be poised. It feels real good."
Cue's roommate, Bulldogs' starting center Tristan Bellamy, was more than willing to make up for his quarterback's lack of words.
"He stepped up and he showed out," Bellamy said. "I feel like he can do that all the time. I really do love playing with Cue, and I'm really proud of the way he stepped up today. It was unbelievable."
The week began with South Carolina State worrying about the future of its offense moving forward this season. It ended full of excitement about what is to come.
"I'm real excited," Jordan said. "I'm real happy with the offense today. I'm not worried about the defense. The defense will get its act together, but the offense ... we needed something to build on."
Wiley done for the year
Derrick Wiley sat in a box during the game with a large brace on his knee. The quarterback underwent knee surgery Friday and Pough confirmed that he will miss the rest of the season.
"Now, I can go ahead and say Derrick is done for the year," he said. "The surgery he had was a fix deal. If they just had to clip it out he could have come back and done something."
Reed and Ferguson out
S.C. State played the game without defensive linemen Ronell Ferguson and Malcom Reed. Ferguson was in a walking boot on the sideline. Pough said that Reed was suffering from turf toe and that Ferguson had an ankle injury. According to the coach, the hope is to have the duo back for the Florida A&M game.