HAMPTON, Va. (Oct. 21) – The FAMU Football Team added another chapter to its’ 2017 Heartbreak Season here Saturday afternoon, as their last-gasp bid for victory died in the Hampton red zone with under a minute to play in a 31-27 setback at Armstrong Stadium.
FAMU (2-6, 1-4 MEAC) took possession of the football with 5:40 left in the game, driving 55 yards in 12 plays to the Hampton 16-yard line, only to have their fourth down play – a fourth and three carry by Devin Bowers – stopped a yard short to effectively seal their fate.
Saturday’s loss – the fourth straight - ended FAMU’s hopes of a winning season, with three games remaining, and the setback overshadowed a valiant effort by the Rattlers in the second half, which saw much of their young talent flash enormous potential in the comeback bid.
Redshirt freshman halfback Ricky Henrilus was scintillating, rushing for 109 yards on 10 carries, running with both speed and power, literally willing the Rattlers back into the game.
Another redshirt, former Tallahassee Rickards High star receiver Chad Hunter, made a spectacular 91-yard touchdown catch of a Ryan Stanley pass, snaring the pigskin and racing through the Hampton defense into the end zone with 7:23 left, giving the Rattlers their only lead of the game at 27-24.
Hampton (5-2, 4-0 MEAC), which led 21-3 midway through the second quarter, retook the lead with 5:46 left in the game on Delmon Williams’ eight-yard TD pass to Quinton Lee, for a 31-27 edge.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The Rattlers outgained the Pirates, 416-405 in total yards, buoyed by their 265 yards in the second half, sparked by Henrilus, who rushed for 75 yards on just eight carries in the second half… Bowers finished with 65 yards on 18 carries, while Ryan Stanley passed for 220 yards on 13 of 19 passing, tossing a trio of TD strikes, against no picks.
Stanley threw a pair of TD passes to Chad Hunter (six yard, 91 yards) and one to Kareem Smith good for 16 yards. Chaviss Murphy led the Rattler receivers with four catches for 59 yards, followed by Chad Hunter with two grabs for 97 yards and two TDs.
Redshirt freshman kicker Khalil Clark of Tallahassee Lincoln hit a pair of field goals in the game, a 22-yarder for FAMU’s first points of the game with 25 seconds left in the first period, and a 35-yarder to open the fourth quarter.
Linebacker Jakaris Wilson had a season-high 15 total tackles Saturday against the Pirates, including seven (7) solo stops, one sack and one tackle for loss.
But the penalty bug bit the Rattlers badly in the second half, as the Orange and Green was flagged 13 times for 127 yards in the final two quarters for a game total of 15 flags for 142 yards….. Hampton, meanwhile was flagged just seven times in the game for 53 yards, and only twice for 10 yards in the second half.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Rattlers head to Baltimore next Saturday to face the Morgan State Bears in a 1:00 p.m. contest on Earl Banks Field at Hughes Stadium.