The Florida A&M University Rattlers (6-3, 4-2 MEAC) enjoyed a convincing 45-12 win over the woeful North Carolina A&T State University Aggies (0-9, 0-7 MEAC) Saturday.
The Rattlers were in control for much of the game as they took a 24-6 lead into halftime after a 31-yard Wesley Taylor field goal with one second left in the second quarter. This marked the second time the Rattlers have taken a lead into halftime this season.
North Carolina A&T managed a first-half score on a 23-yard touchdown catch by Michael Caldwell from Aggie quarterback Wayne Campbell. Campbell finished with 171 yards, on 13 for 35 passing with two interceptions. The Aggies extra point attempt failed.
FAMU quarterback Albert Chester II injured his hand in last week’s homecoming game against Morgan State, but the redshirt junior had 186 yards on 21 for 25 passing and three touchdowns. Chester also scampered for 75 yards on the ground with one rushing touchdown.
“I did pretty good, but I haven’t had the game I wanted to yet,” said Chester of his performance on Saturday.
Freshman running back Demitric Henry led the Rattler running attack that tallied 286 total running yards. Henry rushed for 103 yards on 14 carries, with one touchdown to lead all backs. Junior Joe Lawson also had 84 yards on seven carries for the Rattlers. Lawson also led the team in all-purpose yards with 192 total yards. Redshirt sophomore Anthony Edwards had 32 yards on five carries.
Freshman fullback Mykel Benson was a pleasant surprise for the Rattlers offense. Benson grabbed three touchdown passes for the Rattlers.
“Mykel finally got into the mix like we wanted him to. It was good that we were able to open things up on offense,” said Chester of the freshman’s three-touchdown game.
“It feels good to know we have so many targets,” he said.
In the third quarter, the Rattlers took a 31-6 lead on a three-yard touchdown scramble by Chester.
The Aggies closed the gap early in the third on a nine-yard touchdown catch by Aggie wide out Andre Garth. That cut the Rattler lead to 31-12.
Benson’s 9-yard touchdown catch late in the third, and 3-yard touchdown grab in the fourth gave the Rattlers a 45-12 lead, which would provide the final margin.
The win was the largest the Rattlers have had this season.
“It felt good not to have to go down to the wire and not have to stress,” Chester said.
“We have the ball rolling now, and hopefully we can keep it going into next week,” he said.
On defense, redshirt sophomore Vernon Wilder led the Rattlers with 10 tackles. The Rattler defense allowed 288 total yards, with 178 of those yards coming on the ground.
“I think we did a good job of stopping the run and forcing them to pass,” Wilder said of the team’s defensive efforts.
“As a team it seems like we are getting better every week on offense and defense.”
The Rattlers will host the two-time defending MEAC champion Hampton University Pirates (9-1, 7-1 MEAC) Saturday at Bragg Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is at 6 p.m.