An evening of heavy rain combined with the heavy offense of the Golden Panthers of Florida International University result in a disappointing loss for the Florida A&M Rattlers.
Big performances from sophomore running back Ben West, who rushed for 224 yards on the night, and senior wide receiver Chandler Williams, with 122 yards in receptions of his own, mounted in a 470 yard show by the Golden Panthers and a 23-6 victory.
The match-up began on an even note, with the now reputable clutch defense of the Rattlers making some big stands early on. The problems arose when big offensive plays were allowed before the clutch plays of the defense could come into action.
This was evident even from the first quarter of play. The Rattlers’ defense shut down FIU’s offense on a 1st and goal situation from the five-yard line, resulting in a 24-yard field goal by senior kicker Adam Moss, on what could have been a six point touchdown, opening up the game’s scoring at 3-0. But, this noteworthy stop was preceded by a defense-splitting 27-yard reception up the middle, from quarterback Josh Padrick to Chandler Williams on 3rd down..
Moss’s kick provided the only scoring in the first quarter of play, but the offensive onslaught and big plays for the Golden Panthers ensued.
First, a 58-yard, one play possession, equaled a touchdown pass from Padrick to Williams, pushing the Golden Panthers’ lead to 10-0. Next, a 20-yard touchdown pass with a great catch following a hard hit at the goal line, from Padrick to senior receiver Cory McKinney, with 12 seconds left in the half, made the score 17-0.
Up to this point in the contest, Josh Padrick had already thrown for 169 yards, with two touchdowns. While, Ben West had advanced the Golden Panthers into scoring position with 106 yards of his own.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the Rattlers had only mounted 69 yards of total offense on their own, and quarterback Chris Owens, who took a hard hit late in the 2nd quarter, would sit out the rest of the game.
The third quarter began much of the same, in terms of FIU offense driving up the field with big rushes from West and big receptions from Williams, as the Golden Panthers drove up the field on the opening possession of the half. The drive also saw much of the same in terms of the Rattlers’ clutch defense, again halting a red zone attempt and forcing FIU to a field goal, this one a 26 yard boot from Moss, pushing the FIU advantage to 20-0.
The Rattlers’ offense was taken over this quarter by sophomore quarterback Leon Camel, but to no avail, as he was held to 16 yards and two receptions on four attempts and the offense was still left scoreless through three quarters of play.
The third quarter also saw a crowd clearing downpour of near torrential rain, which proved to add another element to the game. With rain so hard, the visibility of the players, even sportscasters, was noticeably impaired. Also, giant puddles and mushy fields took their toll on the speed and efficiency of the game play.
The Rattlers managed to use the harsh conditions to their advantage, finally breaking into the scoring column early in the fourth quarter with a 77 yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Albert Chester to junior receiver Roosevelt Kiser making to score 20-6.
Recently injured former starting quarterback Albert Chester’s brief flurry of positive Rattlers’ offense proved not to be enough though, as the damage of the Golden Panthers was already done. Add one more 37 yard Moss field goal, and the game’s scoring concluded with FIU winning 23-6 as the final score
“I think the offense just needs to have a short memory, I mean defense has been kicking butt, now it’s time for us to step up,” said Chester on the offensive performance of the Rattlers on the night.
The win was the first of the season for the Golden Panthers, improving their record to 1-3, and dropping the Rattlers to 2-3 on the season.
Contact Reggie Snowden at firstname.lastname@example.org