Frosh Bell got starting QB nod after veteran Reid's injury
The shakeup under center that generated a weekend win for N.C. Central had less to do with Jordan Reid’s production as the starting signal caller and was more about his fitness to physically handle the job, NCCU interim coach Dwayne Foster said Monday afternoon.
“The decision actually came down to Jordan’s health,” Foster said. “Jordan’s been fighting through some injuries over the past couple of weeks, and we thought that a healthier quarterback in Malcolm Bell would give us the best chance to win.”
NCCU beat Savannah State 24-10 on Saturday, and Bell, a redshirt freshman who was making his first college start, passed for 174 yards and threw for a touchdown to go along with a rushing touchdown.
Reid, a redshirt senior, had been the starter all season for NCCU (4-4, 2-2 MEAC).
Foster said Reid got hurt again during Thursday’s practice and was checked out by a doctor on Friday morning, keeping him from riding to Georgia with the team.
Reid, who has a lower-leg injury, joined his teammates Friday afternoon in Savannah and even played on Saturday, assuming his normal duties as the holder during extra points and field goals.
Early last week, Foster talked about the need for the Eagles’ offensive linemen to provide better protection for Reid.
The coach made that statement a few days after Bell looked really good in mop-up duty during a homecoming loss to Morgan State.
Foster was asked if Bell would get more playing time against Savannah State, and the coach didn’t say anything to suggest that a quarterback change was in the works.
“It came down to his health,” Foster said about Reid. “He’s been fighting through some things.”
Bell threw two interceptions but otherwise handled his business pretty well, Foster said.
“Not bad. Got a couple of turnovers that we’ve got to get fixed,” Foster said. “But, for the most part, not bad. He used his legs, threw some really good passes to our open receivers, and he didn’t do a bad job of managing the game one bit.”
NCCU wide receiver Adrian Wilkins got his hands on nine of Bell’s passes for 105 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown.
The last time an NCCU receiver caught 100 yards worth of passes was in 2011 when Demario Lackey did it against Hampton.
Wilkins was a busy guy on Saturday. The sophomore from Forest City had 241 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, including a 73-yard score on a punt return late in the second quarter to give the Eagles a 14-10 lead.
The defending champ of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference will be in NCCU’s O’Kelly-Riddick Stadium at high noon Saturday for a nationally televised contest on ESPNews.
Foster said it was too soon for him to say who would start under center for the Eagles against Bethune-Cookman (7-1, 4-0 MEAC).