Season opening win was a dominant effort
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Aug. 26) – The Florida A&M Rattler Football team rode a stalwart defensive effort, and a balanced offensive attack to a breezy 29-7 nationally-televised season-opening victory over the visiting Texas Southern Tigers in Bragg Memorial Stadium.
Saturday’s contest, which aired live on ESPNU, was all FAMU throughout, as the Rattlers forged a 29-0 lead through three quarters in a totally dominant performance.
The Rattlers’ GanGreen Defense set the tone, not allowing the Tigers (0-1) to cross midfield until the fourth quarter, when FAMU had a four score lead, limiting the Houston crew to just 62 yards rushing (on 18 tries), and 140 yards through the air.
TSU quarterback Jay Christophe was sacked three times, and managed to complete just 12 of 39 pass attempts, with one interception, and a 30-yard touchdown pass to Darvin Kirby with 14:16 left in the game. He was the Tigers’ top rusher with 29 yards on 10 carries.
Meanwhile, transfer Jalene Douse led the Rattler defenders with seven solo tackles Saturday, followed by senior linebacker Jakaris Wilson and senior tackle Emilio Gibbs with four tackles each, and senior cornerback Jules Dornevil, who finished with three solo stops and a driving-killing interception the end zone. Tackle David Richardson also had three tackles and one-and-a-half quarterback sacks.
FAMU’s Offense rolled up 415 total yards, rushing for 193 yards on 42 attempts, while two quarterbacks – starter Ryan Stanley, and the number two man, Vincent Jeffries – combined for 222 yards through the air.
Redshirt freshnman Ricky Henrilus led the FAMU ground game with 81 yards on 14 carries, while junior Devin Bowers ran for 41 yards on 15 tries, with one TD.
Stanley got most of the time under center at quarterback Saturday, rushing for 21 yards on three carries and a touchdown, while passing for 217 yards (hitting 19 of 32 aerials) for one score. Jeffries rushed for 12 yards and a TD, plus went one-for-six passing for five yards.
Senior Brandon Norwood led the Rattlers with five catches for 63 yards, and a 35-yard touchdown catch from Stanley. Marcus Williams added 51 yards on three catches, followed by Kareem Smith (3 for 38 yards), Elijah Jones (3 for 24 yards) and Chad Hunter (2 for 11 yards).
HOW THEY SCORED
Stanley’s nine-yard TD run with 2:53 left in the first period, capped a nine-play, 74-yard drive, giving the Rattlers at 7-0 lead.
Devin Bowers bolted into the end zone from six yards out with 12:27 left in the half, extending FAMU’s lead to 13-0, before Stanley and Norwood hooked up on a 35-yard TD pass play for a 20-0 halftime lead.
FAMU opened the second half by turning bitter to sweet, when a 10-yard delay of game penalty (band related), ended up in a safety, when TSU misplayed the kickoff, causing the ball to skitter into the end zone.
On the ensuing drive, Vince Jeffries capped off the 49-yard, eight play mar5ch with a 12-yard dash to paydirt for a 29-0 lead with 10:22 left in the third period.
GAME NOTES: An announced crowd of 15,401 fans witnessed the FAMU victory at Bragg Stadium, under cloudy to partly cloudy skies, with temperatures in the low 90s…. The 2017 Sports Hall of Fame Class, consisting of gridiron greats Algie Hendrieth and Joe Yates; basketball star Leonard King; basketball coach Ajac Triplett; softball star Valerie Stoudemire Leath; track stars Ebenezer T. Oriaku and Bonita McCray Williams; plus athletic trainer Percyell “Doc” Pratt, were recognized during pregame ceremonies, along wth head coach Rudy Hubbard, his staff and members of the 1977 Football Team – the school’s last undefeated team.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Rattlers will travel to Little Rock, Arkansas to face the Arkansas Razorbacks in a guarantee game, slated for War Memorial Stadium next Thursday, August 31 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. The game will air live nationally on the SEC Network.