TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Sept. 15) – The FAMU Football team ran out of precious time Saturday evening, as they dropped a bitter and hard-fought 18-16 decision to visiting Jackson (Miss.) State at Bragg Memorial Stadium.
The Rattlers (1-2) drove from their own 37-yard line to the Jackson State three with no time outs, but after a running play, FAMU scrambled to get the field goal team on but ran out of time.
Saturday’s setback was marred by numerous penalties, as officials dropped 29 flags for 282 yards, wit the Rattlers getting hit the hardest with 177 yards on 15 penalties.
Those flags all but negated an offensive performance that nearly netted the Rattlers 500 total yards (463 on 70 plays).
FAMU got on the board in the first stanza on Azende Rey’s one-yard run, which capped a 10-play, 73-yard drive with 2:40 left in the period, giving the Rattlers a 7-0 lead.
Jackson State’s Chris Jacquemin pulled his Tigers (1-1) to within a point before halftime, booting field goals of 42 and 26 yards, for a 7-6 FAMU lead at the break.
The third quarter was a wild one, as both clubs scored nine points, allowing FAMU to cling to a 16-15 lead.
Jacquemine’s 43-yard fielder with 9:28 left in the third staked JSU to a 9-7 lead, but FAMU’s Ryan Stanley capped the ensuing 65-yard drive with a 20-yard scoring strike to freshman Xavier Smith with 7:50 left, to put FAMU back in front, 14-9.
The visiting Tigers grabbed a 15-14 lead with 5:22 left in the third on a six-yard pass from Derrick Ponder to Ra’Melk Wallace, but Ponder’s two-point conversion pass was picked off by safety Terry Jefferson, who raced 98 yards for a two-point defensive score, putting his Rattlers back on top for the last time at 16-15.
Jacquemine ended the game’s scoring with 10:22 left in the fourth with a 44-yard field goal for a 18-16 final tally.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Junior QB Ryan Stanley posted the first 300-yard passing game of his collegiate career Saturday night, completing 26 of 37 passes for 340 yards, and one score. That eclipsed his previous career high of 286 yards last season against Morgan State…. Sophomore Chad Hunter and freshman Xavier Smith benefitted from Stanley’s hot hand (70.2 percent completion rate), as Hunter finished with eight catches for 117 yards, while Smith had six grabs for 83 yards and a score…. Stanley was the club’s second leading rusher, picking up 32 yards on 10 carries, just behind freshman Deshawn Smith’s 45 yards on five carries…. Junior linebacker Elijah Richardson topped the Rattlers in tackles Saturday with 10 total stops (six solos) with a forced fumble, 2.5 tackles for 11 yards in losses, and one quarterback sack.Tackle Joshua Crutchfield had a quarterback sack, two tackles for loss (12 yards) and four total tackles… Freshman corner Herman Jackson had a touchdown-saving interception at the goal line in the third period that snuffed out a JSU drive.
SPECIAL NOTE: The 1978 FAMU Football team, which won the first-ever NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS) national title, was honored over the weekend, with a reception at The Moon on Friday, a tailgate prior to the game, and on the field between the first and second quarters.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Rattlers will open Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play next Saturday, Sept. 22, as they host the Savannah (Ga.) State Tigers at 4:00 p.m. in Bragg Stadium. The 1998 Black College National Championship team, coached by College Hall of Famer William”Billy” Joe, will be honored during next week’s game on the 20th anniversary of FAMU’s last national championship season.