The inaugural Florida Beach Bowl is set to take place on Wednesday, December 13, 2023, featuring the Johnson C. Smith Golden Bulls (CIAA) and the Fort Valley State Wildcats (SIAC). This historic event marks the beginning of a new era for postseason football at the Division II HBCU level.
How to Watch
What it is: NCAA Division II Football
Matchup: Fort Valley State vs Johnson C. Smith
Date: Wednesday Dec. 13, 2023
Time: 7:30pm ET
Locations: Drive Pink Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Stream the Fort Valley State vs Johnson C. Smith Division II HBCU Florida Beach Bowl game: Start your free trial today!
A Dream Realized
Five years ago, Victor Robenson, CEO of the Florida Beach Bowl, envisioned adding another postseason bowl game specifically for HBCUs. His dream became a reality when Johnson C. Smith and Fort Valley State were selected to compete in the inaugural game.
“The Florida Beach Bowl is all about a dream,” Robenson said. “We’ll never stop dreaming, but the thing is, don’t just dream and not put the work in. You have to put the work in. But for me, I’m all about the challenge.”
Golden Bulls Ready to Charge
Johnson C. Smith enters the game after a stellar regular season, finishing with a 7-3 record, including a 6-2 mark against CIAA opponents. Their stout defense, led by All-CIAA linebacker duo Benari Black and Jack Smith, has been the key to their success. The Golden Bulls also boast a potent rushing attack led by brothers Tim Newman Jr. and Jacob Newman, who combined for over 800 yards on the ground this season. However, their secret weapon might be return specialist Kudirka Cureton, who led the CIAA in punt return yards and touchdowns.
Wildcats Seeking Redemption
Fort Valley State, also sporting a 7-3 record, will be looking to snap their losing streak in neutral-site games. The Wildcats are led by a high-scoring offense, anchored by an offensive line that allowed the fewest sacks of any Division II HBCU. Running back Brandon Marshall had a breakout season, rushing for over 890 yards and eight touchdowns. DeJuan Bell, a dynamic return specialist who leads the SIAC in both kick and punt return yards, is another player to watch for Fort Valley State. Their defense, particularly the secondary which recorded 17 interceptions this season, will be crucial in slowing down the Golden Bulls’ offense.
A Matchup for the Ages
The inaugural Florida Beach Bowl promises to be an exciting and competitive matchup between two talented HBCU programs. With both teams boasting strong defenses and explosive offenses, it’s sure to be a nail-biter. This game is not just about football; it’s about showcasing the talent and dedication of HBCU athletes on a national stage. The Florida Beach Bowl has the potential to be a game-changer for HBCU football, and it’s an event that you won’t want to miss.
- The inaugural Florida Beach Bowl will feature Johnson C. Smith (CIAA) and Fort Valley State (SIAC).
- This game marks a new era for postseason football at the Division II HBCU level.
- Johnson C. Smith boasts a strong defense and a potent rushing attack.
- Fort Valley State is looking to snap their losing streak in neutral-site games and relies on a high-scoring offense.
- The Florida Beach Bowl is an exciting event that showcases the talent and dedication of HBCU athletes.
The Florida Beach Bowl is not just a football game; it’s a manifestation of Victor Robenson’s dream and a testament to the hard work and dedication of both participating teams. As these HBCU powerhouses clash on the field, the inaugural Florida Beach Bowl stands poised to redefine the landscape of postseason football at the Division II level, leaving an indelible mark on the history of HBCU sports. The matchup between Johnson C. Smith and Fort Valley State is not just a game; it’s a celebration of talent, resilience, and the unwavering spirit of HBCU football.