The Florida A&M University’s Rattlers (3-2) were unable to recover from multiple mistakes and a slow first half as they lost to the South Carolina State Bulldogs (4-2) with a score of 28-21, Saturday.
The Bulldogs took a 13-0 lead over the Rattlers in the first quarter. The Bulldog’s Oliver Young caught a 18-yard pass for a touchdown. Young caught the next touchdown for the Bulldogs, at 32-yards, but the field goal attempt fell short giving them a 20-0 going into the half.
The Rattlers ended the quarter with only four first downs, two fumbles and three penalties.
FAMU’s quarterback Eddie Battle said they were not playing as a team in the first half of the game.
“We were playing ourselves for the first half,” Battle said. “We were making foolish penalties.”
Battle had a 100 percent completion rating as he went 11 for 11. He had a total of 127 passing yards and one touchdown. His longest pass was 32-yards.
The Rattler offense employed the services of Battle and first year quarterback Curtis Pulley early. Pulley made plays on the ground with 16 yards scamper in the second quarter.
Pulley said the team’s mistakes will be reviewed during practice.
“It’s just something we can’t do if we want to win the game,” Pulley said. “We just have to hit the practice field.”
Pulley went 8 for 15 for 25 yards with just one interception.
The team staged a comeback early in the third quarter.
The Rattlers received the ball in the second half and at the 32-yard line. Wide receiver Isaac West caught a 26-yard pass from Battle putting them on the Bulldog 31-yard line. West caught another pass from Battle at 11:57 to give the team their first score.
The Rattler’s Curtis Holcomb, a defensive back, recovered a fumble and returned it 20-yards for another touchdown, making the score 20-14.
Holcomb said the Rattlers were able to pick up momentum in the third quarter, but could not sustain it.
“I think we came out slower in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter,” Holcomb said. “In the fourth quarter, we should have had the same enthusiasm as the third quarter. The offense had a couple of third down stops. The momentum kind of stopped. The defense had a couple of third down stops. It just went their way.”
The Rattlers tied the game at 3:53 on a 92-yard return from junior LeRoy Vann, and the Rattlers took a 21-20 lead.
On the next possession, SCSU was able to respond with a touchdown at 2:14 giving them a 28-21 lead after a two-point conversion.
The Rattlers were able to drive to the Bulldog 11 yard line, but missed a field goal after they were stopped on fourth and one.
Taylor said he made the right decision to kick a field goal instead of going for a first down with one yard to go.
“We still have a lot of time left,” Taylor said. “I thought we had a good scheme, good plan.”
The Bulldogs blocked the field goal and maintained possession for the rest of the game.