There is no time for the Rattlers (2-4) (1-2) to dwell on Saturday’s 49-14 blowout loss courtesy of South Carolina State, as the Bulldogs gained 611 total yards of offense.
Norfolk State (5-1) (4-0) will be coming into Bragg Stadium for a rare Thursday night match up coming off a thrilling 20-19 last-second victory over Hampton University, anxious for their first ever win over FAMU.
Last season the Rattlers defeated Norfolk State 36-33 in overtime, but the Spartans will be more confident than ever with their only loss coming from the 13th ranked Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
The Spartans are undefeated in conference play, tied with Delaware State for first place in the MEAC.
After a three-game road trip, FAMU finally will have the home crowd to back them in hopes of a much-needed upset to get back on track.
Inabilities to move the ball and turnovers were crucial in the last two defeats, tackling and stopping the run continues to be a problem on defense.
“Last game the offense struggled and put the defense in a bad position,” said quarterback Leon Camel. “We didn’t sustain any drives, we didn’t move the ball down the field effective enough that is why the defense had so many yards ran against them.”
The senior Belle Glade native has struggled in two starts after the unexpected departure of Albert Chester II due to injury.
Coach Carter’s plan is to slowly bring red shirt freshman quarterback Eddie Battle along by giving him some game reps in preparation for next season.
Battle was five for seven passing with 54 yards in the air and one touchdown pass against South Carolina State.
“Eddie is going to play,” Carter said. “He was a pleasant surprise with his leadership I thought he stayed calm, didn’t get rattled, he stayed in the pocket, threw the ball to receivers that were open, moved well and showed mobility.”
The Ratters are banged up, especially on the defensive front with injuries to senior defensive end duo Tyrone McGriff and Carlos Rolle. Linebacker Vic Arboleda also missed the last two contests with a knee injury.
Injuries are a part of the game and FAMU refuses to use injuries or the youth of the team as an excuse for poor execution in the last couple of weeks.
“We have to stop making the small mistakes, the more small mistakes we make the worst the bigger picture is,” said red shirt sophomore left guard Anthony Collins.
According to the players, so much focus was made on winning the championship and not on individual assignments.
Norfolk State will be fired up looking for its first victory over FAMU. The question is, “Will the Rattlers be ready?”