NCCU hopes injured QB Reid can return, but Bell is ready

Oct. 29, 2013 @ 10:55 PM

It’s too soon to know if veteran N.C. Central quarterback Jordan Reid will return to the starting lineup against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday (noon, ESPNews), NCCU interim coach Dwayne Foster said.

It’s a particularly critical Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game for a .500 NCCU team still hoping for a league title.

Bethune-Cookman (7-1, 4-0 MEAC) is the reigning league champion with a strong grip on repeating.

Another loss by NCCU (4-4, 2-2 MEAC) pretty much would stuff the Eagles’ outside shot at the conference championship that guarantees a birth in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

Reid had a leg injury that thrust NCCU quarterback Malcolm Bell, a red shirt freshman, into the starting lineup in what ended as a 24-10 win at Savannah State on Saturday.

Bell threw two interceptions but otherwise managed the game well, Foster said. Bell passed for 174 yards and a touchdown, and he ran for another score.

But a healthy Reid, a redshirt senior, appears to give NCCU the best opportunity to win, to hear Foster tell it.

“Jordan’s our guy,” Foster said. “There’s no doubt about that. If he’s healthy and ready to go, he’ll be in there.”

Reid played in the Savannah State game, holding for both field-goal and extra-point attempts, as he normally does.

Foster said Reid will be monitored during practice, and it may take until the end of the week before a decision is made about his readiness to get under center against Bethune-Cookman.

“We’ll see if he’s able to be himself as it relates to running around and throwing,” Foster said. “If he’s himself, then he’s our guy.”

Prior to the Savannah State game, Bell looked rather sharp during mop-up duty against Morgan State, capping a 68-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.

Before former NCCU head coach Henry Frazier III was fired shortly before the Eagles’ first game of the season, he said Bell would make it hard to take him out of the lineup once he got on the field and showed what he could do. Bell is that good, Frazier said.