The Rattlers football team left the home crowd at Bragg Memorial Stadium one last treat as they defeated North Carolina A&T State University 24-14 Saturday afternoon on the team’s Senior Day.
“It was a real fun experience, a real emotional game,” said senior running back Chris Daniels of his final game at Bragg. “Everyone wanted to win for the seniors and it was also a real big game to get our record over 500.”
“I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world,” said senior line backer Elgin Anderson.
The Rattlers were led by senior running back Rashard Pompey. The Tallahassee native left the fans with a one-man show in his final performance in front of the home crowd, contributing 265 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Pompey’s record-book effort managed to place him in third place all-time career rushing yards, with 2,792 total yards on 676 carries with 20 career touchdowns. The performance also put him at second all-time in single game rushing yards- his 265 on Saturday trailed only Willie Gallimore’s 295-yard single game record, set back in 1955.
“Pompey is not only a great player, but a great person. I’ve been working out and practicing with him for a while and I knew he had a game like this coming,” Daniels said. “It’s great to see someone who works so hard succeed.”
The Rattlers, who split time throughout the contest between quarterbacks Josh Driscoll and Albert Chester, did most of their damage on the ground as the rush accounted for 251 of their 429 total yard offensive effort.
This was not the case however for quarterback Marshall Glenn passed for 342 of the teams 456 total yards. Glenn managed to have three receivers with over 100 receiving yards. None were able to convert a touchdown though, as both scores for the Aggies came on late fourth quarter rushes.
“We played solid defense. We eased up on our play calling and blitzing in the fourth quarter,” said senior cornerback Keith Williams. “If we would’ve kept up our intensity, I don’t think they would’ve scored on our number one defense.”
The Rattlers took the lead midway through the second quarter on a 34-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Wesley Taylor. The kick set the score at 3-0, the score that would last through the first half of play.
Halftime saw the usual excellence of the Marching 100, as well as a celebration commemorating nearly 100 of FAMU football’s historic greats, as they celebrated 100 years of Rattler football. The greats were met with great applause and appreciation from the 10,203 fans in attendance.
Second half scores for the Rattlers came, first, on drive that had Pompey written all over it, coming midway through the third quarter. Starting from the FAMU 20-yard line, Pompey saw seven consecutive rushes, concluded with a 21-yard touchdown run. That drive would be followed by an 80-yard bomb from Driscoll to junior receiver Roosevelt Kiser in the closing seconds of the quarter, bringing the score to 17-0 headed into the game’s final quarter.
The Rattlers final scoring drive had Pompey perplexing the Aggies’ defense and finishing with a 44-yard touchdown run. This set the Rattlers at 24-0 with a little over 10 minutes left to play.
Immediately following Pompey’s big drive, the Aggies offense managed to find the end zone. A couple of sizeable receptions of 23 and 16 yards, along with the help of a 16-yard personal foul penalty against FAMU senior defensive back Sammy Doughty, led to a Glenn touchdown run. This would put the score at 24-6, after a failed two-point conversion, with just over eight minutes to play.
The Aggies would find the end zone one more time in the contest, on an eight-yard rush from sophomore running back Quante Speight, but it would not come until there was less than a minute to play. Too little, too late would be the case as the contest concluded at 24-14 in the favor of the Rattlers.
The win put the Rattlers at 5-4 on the season and 4-2 in the MEAC, it is also the first time that the team has won three consecutive games for the first time since the 2003 season.
Contact Reginald Snowden at firstname.lastname@example.org