Offense sells tickets but defense wins the game. A formula followed to a tee by the University of South Florida Bulls, whose offense had 43,122 fans roaring through Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, and whose defense held the Rattlers to 85 total yards.
“We just couldn’t get any offense going,” said FAMU receiver Roosevelt Kiser.
Lack of offense more or less sums up the Rattlers performance in Saturday’s 37-3 loss to USF.
The Rattlers, in fact did not come across their first, of four, first downs on the night until midway through the third quarter. “There were not enough blocks up front to create any offense,” said Kiser.
Most of the Bulls’ damage came from their punishing rushes, all 377 yards of them.
USF was led by senior running back Andre Hall, who had a career night of his own. On top of his 156 rushing yards and three touchdowns, Hall moved into fifth place all-time in his school’s history for career rushing touchdowns (14). He also recorded his fourth-career multi-touchdown game, and his three on the night tied his career high for a single game. As if that was not enough, he also recorded his seventh career 100-yard rushing game, tying him for first all-time at USF.
The USF assault began early with the Bulls driving down the field in just over three minutes, resulting in the first of Hall’s touchdowns. After a quick three-and-out by the Rattlers’ offense, Hall picked up where he left off with another rushing touchdown to end the first quarter with a USF advantage of 13-0.
The second quarter seemed to be more of the same, with a USF 30-yard field goal by freshman kicker Kyle Bronson, followed by two more rushing touchdowns, one from Hall, and the other from freshman running back Ricky Ponton. As the half wound down, USF carried a commanding 30-0 lead; meanwhile the Rattlers’ offense had yet to move the chains once.
The second half began a short lived awakening of the FAMU faithful, with a fumble recovery by sophomore free safety Jason Beach in the opening possession of the third quarter.
The brief stint of momentum was immediately halted by a penalty- ridden possession concluding in a FAMU punt being blocked.
The following possession led to the Bulls’ final score of the night with a 36 yard touchdown pass making the score 37-0.
The Rattlers lone score came in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter on a 21 yard field goal by sophomore kicker Wesley Taylor. This concluded the game’s scoring and left a final score of 37-3 in favor of the USF Bulls
“We played a team that is very athletic on both sides of the ball,” said Rattlers’ Head Coach Rubin Carter, “I just didn’t know how athletic until I actually had a chance to see them in the motion of the game.”
As for the Rattlers’ defense, which allowed 490 total yards, “we had some mental errors where we were in position to make some plays and didn’t make them, also we didn’t tackle very well,” said Carter.
Special teams’ defense also ran into some issues throughout the game in stopping punt and kick-off returns, as the Bulls collected 209 yards in punt returns and 83 yards in kick-off returns.
As for the Rattlers’ lack of offensive production, the issue seems to be the challenge of establishing a rhythm with the quarterback and his offense. This seems to be a difficult task to overcome mainly because, to this point, there is still no defined starter.
“The quarterback situation is still being evaluated,” Carter said.
“The best thing we can do is to get out there in practice and get a rhythm,” said senior quarterback Josh Driscoll.”We’ve got to get rid of mental mistakes and move on,” Driscoll said.
For now, fans who wish to follow the development of the Rattlers must wait until Saturday, the 17th, when they host the Howard Bison at Bragg Memorial Stadium at 7p.m.
Contact Reginald Snowden at firstname.lastname@example.org