SAVANNAH,Ga. (Oct. 12) – The Florida A&M Football team picked up their first conference win of the season as the Rattlers defeated Savannah state, 27-13 here Saturday night at Ted Wright Stadium.
FAMU on the season goes to 1-1 in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play and 2-4 overall, while SSU dropped their fourth straight contest for a 1-6 record overall and 0-3 in conference play.
FAMU head coach Earl Holmes was pleased with the team's effort. "I thought up front on both sides of the ball we did an excellent job of getting a body on a body, winning our one-on-ones. We kicked the ball off and guys started fast. Pretty much we've kinda stepped on our own toes by starting slow all season, but guys started fast tonight and we finished strong. ," he said.
A Kashawn Butler fumble recovery with 11:12 remaining in the first set up the Rattlers' first score of the game as Lemond Buice scored on a 10-yard run with 7:24 left in the quarter, giving the Rattlers a 6-0 lead, after the Chase Varadore, missed PAT.
Less than two minutes later, Terry Johnson would increase FAMU’s lead as he scored on a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown with 5:23 to go in the first, making the score 13-0 in favor of the Rattlers, after the Varnadore made PAT.
Casey Glines recorded his second TD of the season as he made an acrobatic catch in the end zone, increasing FAMU’s lead to 20-0, after the Varnadore made PAT with 12:53 left in the second quarter.
The Rattler defense was key to the win, giving up just one touchdow, with the other SSU score coming on an interception return for touchdown. Holmes felt the defense was the key to the victory. "Defense wins championships. We were putting a lot of blame on the offense, we even had a pick-six tonight, but a good team finds a way to win. I thought the defense dominated up front and done their one-on-ones. We had some balls out there, i think we dropped two interceptions. I think it was a solid effort by the defense," he said.
SSU would light up the score board in the second quarter as Marquis Smith scored on that 46-yard interception return for TD with 6:13 to in the quarter, cutting FAMU’s lead to 20-7.
Lenworth Lennon scored the Rattlers' final TD of the game on a 11-yard pass from Damien Fleming with 2:57 to go in the fourth quarter, giving the Rattlers a 27-7 lead, after the Varnadore made PAT.
SSU would score on their final drive of the contest as Antonio Bostick connected with DeQuan Daniels from seven-yards out with 39 seconds left in the contest for the 27-14 finale, after the McCarty made PAT.
FAMU was led by Damien Fleming as he rushed for 59 yards on nine carries and passed for 110 yards by completing 11 passes in 18 attempts with two TDs and one interception to finish the game with 169 yards of total offense.
Buice was the Rattlers' second leading rusher as he rushed for 54 yards on 10 carries with his longest rush being for 21 yards to go along with one TD.
Adamsen Felix led the Rattler receivers with 27 receiving yards on three receptions with his longest reception being for 17 yards.
William Smalls led the Rattler defense as he tallied a team-high nine tackles with eight of them being solos, 1.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks on the day. Behind him was Brandon Denmark as he tallied six tackles, and 0.5 tackles for loss.
The Rattlers were assisted by a nice contingency of Rattlers fans, several of whom traveled from Tallahassee. The team recognized the supportive fans and fed off of it. "
After the game, I made sure our guys went over to our crowd and let them know we appreciate them. The 12th man always makes a difference and we felt comfortable almost like it was a home game. That's another reason we started fast, because we felt like we were playing in our own back yard. We appreciate the support," Holmes said. It resulted in the largest crowd of the season for Savannah State, at 5,620.
SSU was paced by Bostick as he rushed for 42 yards on 14 carries, and passed for 99 yards by completing 15 passes in 22 attempts and one passing TD to finish the game with 141 yards of total offense.
Justin Dixon led the Tigers defense as he tallied a team high 13 tackles and one tackle for loss.
FAMU will return to action on Saturday, Oct. 19 as they will host Howard University in their annual homecoming game in a 2 p.m. start at Bragg Memorial Stadium.