Coming off the bye week the Rattler football team did exactly what they intended to, come away with a victory over Tennessee State in the Atlanta Classic no matter how ugly or close the game was.
This annual match up between the familiar opponents was not just another tight-played game as the last four have been, but it was a game of strange twists with a lot of penalties, injuries, and a tale of two half’s.
The Tigers committed a whopping 13 penalties for 121 yards, including the false start to push the game ending field goal attempt back five yards as FAMU’s time off was evident with nine penalties for 34 yards.
Before the Rattler defense could break a sweat, the Tigers took the lead 7-0 on a three-play drive.
Javarrus Williams, who has had success in the past against FAMU, shed off arm tackles and broke through initial contact as FAMU struggled to bring down the 215 pound running back in the first half.
As Tennessee State had the Rattlers on the ropes early, ready for the knock out, the Tigers gave the Rattlers a two point gift as center Cecil Newton snapped the ball before Heffner was ready.
This gave Heffner no choice but to kick the ball out of the end zone for a safety to cut the lead to 14-5.
“It was a situation where their was a lot of noise and the center couldn’t hear, the quarterback moved and he snapped the ball,” head coach James Webster said.
Another snap error would kill a Tiger drive late in the game as they drove for the go ahead score.
With three and a half minutes remaining in the game and the ball on the FAMU 32, the Tigers faced a fourth and one.
As Heffner anticipated the snap in the shotgun formation, the junior quarterback dropped the snap and was tackled for a two-yard loss giving the Rattlers the ball back with the chance to run out the clock.
FAMU seemed to be all but dead going into the half as they were unable to finish drives.
The Rattlers had success on the ground with the running of Bank of America’s MVP, Phillip Sylvester. But, the Rattlers couldn’t get into the end zone as several drives stalled in the red zone.
Sylvester would finish with 132 yards on 25 carries in his first game at the Georgia Dome as he ran right at the Tiger defense proving he can gain the tough yardage between the tackles as well as the outside. “It felt great to come out with the win, defense and special teams showed fight and the will of the Rattlers,” Sylvester said.
Albert Chester II threw an interception at the Tigers’ 20-yard line as he stared down the gun barrel of the Tiger defense facing constant pressure.
The inability to establish a consistent passing game kept FAMU out of the end zone in the first half prompting a quarterback change by Head Coach Rubin Carter as Leon Camel finished the game under center.
“We wanted to add upbeat tempo to offense. Leon adds more mobility and has the mobility to escape rushers and find open receivers down the field,” Head coach Rubin Carter said.
Injured Rattlers Tyrone McGriff, Demarius Folsum, Carlos Rolle, and Victoriano Arboleda will be evaluated this week.