TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Sept. 22) – Redshirt sophomore Bishop Bonnett led a 28-point second half scoring surge to power the Florida A&M Rattlers to a 31-13 home victory over Savannah State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener for both teams.
Bonnett, a Jacksonville, Florida native, was nearly a one-man wrecking crew for FAMU. Rushing for 89 yards and a score, while electrifying the Bragg Stadium crowd and rousing his team in the process with a 69-yard pass reception, which saw him leave the Savannah State defense in his wake.
All told, Bonnett accounted for 159 total yards from scrimmage and two TDs, lifting the Rattlers (2-2, 1-0 MEAC) out of a 7-3 halftime hole, after a first half struggle on offense.
Senior Yahia Aly’s 27-yard field goal with 2:11 left in the half put the Rattlers on the board finally, to counter Savannah State’s first period tally, a four-yard run by J. Baldwin with 9:15 left.
Bonnett’s 69-yard catch-and-carry, capped a four-play, 80-yard drive with 6:51 left in the third, vaulting the Rattlers ahead to stay at 10-7. Freshman Deshawn Smith powered in from one-yard out four minutes later (2:51) to extend FAMU to a 17-7 edge.
Sophomore Azende Rey dashed in from four yards out with 11:58 left in the game, to push the Rattlers farther ahead at 24-7, but the gritty and determined Tigers (0-3, 0-1 MEAC), would not relent, mounting a desperation, 11-play, 85-yard drive, capping it with a two-yard plunge by Jaylen McCloud with 6:31 left. The PAT try failed, leaving FAMU ahead, 24-13.
Bonnett, the man of the hour, sealed the deal for the Rattlers just moments later (5:39), with a nine-yard run for a the final 31-13 count.
SATURDAY’S NUMBERS: FAMU announced Saturday’s crowd at Bragg Stadium of 16,644…. Behind Bonnett in the Rattler ground game (89 yards on nine carries), was senior Devin Bowers, who had 49 yards on eight carries and Deshawn Smith with 28 yards on seven carries, with a TD.
Freshman Xavier Smith led the Rattler pass catchers with five receptions for 47 yards, followed by Marcus Williams with four grabs for 44 yards, while Bonnett finished with two catches for 70 yards… Junior QB Ryan Stanley had an off night of sorts, going 14 of 20 for 166 yards, one score and two interceptions….. Punter Chris Faddoul averaged a nifty 46.2 yards on five punts….
Linebacker Elijah Richardson led the Rattler Defense with 11 tackles (7 solos) with two tackle for loss. Safety Terry Jefferson had eight tackles, including a sack and a tackle for loss, while defensive end Antoino Miller had two tackles for loss, one sack and five total tackles Saturday.
WHAT’S ON TAP: The Rattlers hit the road to close September next Saturday in Durham, N.C., to face the North Carolina Central Eagles at 1:00 p.m.