PHILADELPHIA – The Rattlers knew that in order to beat the Owls, they had to stop the Owls’ junior quarterback Walter Washington.
What they didn’t know was that this Daytona Beach resident was fired up more than usual to play the Rattlers.
“I didn’t get offered a scholarship from them or even a visit or a letter from FAMU,” said Washington, who graduated from Mainland High School in 2001.
“I was always interested in FAMU, but they never showed interest in me when I was in high school.”
Washington showed what the team missed out on, flaunting his versatility, strength and poise in the Owls 38-7 route of Florida A&M Saturday, in their first victory at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
The loss dropped FAMU to 0-3 for the season for the first time in 20 years.
Washington put on a show taking advantage of the Rattlers countless missed tackles and blown coverages.
He ended up with 119 yards and two touchdowns on the ground to go along with 222 yards and a touchdown through the air in a little over three quarters of action.
“Washington did his share of damage to our defense today,” said FAMU head coach Billy Joe about the 240-pounder, who benches 475 pounds.
“Washington’s a big, tough, strong guy who’s tough to bring down. He’s like a big fullback with speed, coordination and power.”
On the contrary, Rattlers quarterback Ben Dougherty had a tough outing. After notching a passing percentage of 69.9 percent for the first two games, Dougherty completed only 22 of 43 attempts.
To his credit though, many of his incomplete passes slipped out of his hands or were thrown away to avoid sacks. And unlike last week against Tulane, when he was sacked six times, Temple didn’t sack him once.
“One thing that we really tried to work on this week was getting rid of the football,” said Dougherty, who threw for 181 yards and rushed for another 50.
“So when I was about to get sacked or there was nothing open, instead of running the ball out of bounds or getting sacked, I tried to get rid of the ball.”
After junior running back Rashard Pompey scored on the Rattlers first drive, FAMU drove within the Owls 40-yard line four times over the course of the game, but came up scoreless, mostly due to a very aggressive Owls defense that kept the pressure on all afternoon.
That surprised Owls head coach Bobby Wallace, who received his 100th career head coaching victory and was worried about the Rattlers offense until the buzzer sounded.
“I was impressed that we did not allow them to score more than they did today,” said Wallace, whose Owls never looked back from a 17-point outburst in the first quarter. “I was not comfortable with a 14-point lead at any point in time in this game. I wasn’t comfortable with a 24-point lead. Their quarterback is too good.”
Even though the Owls starting running back Tim Brown sustained a foot injury in warm-ups, Temple continued the rushing precedent set by Illinois and Tulane and racked up 255 yards rushing.
Backup running back Umar Ferguson replaced Brown and compiled 118 yards rushing, most of which came in the fourth quarter.
Next week, the Rattlers will play a Division I-AA team for the first time this season when they travel to Atlanta to take on Tennessee State in the Atlanta Classic.
Contact Ibram Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org.