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Watch the pregame show. Notice anything new? FAMU’s band seems to be missing a key element: The drum majors. As of right now, there’s only one out there. Keep reading for updates.
It looks like it’s a good thing that Vann isn’t doing anything differently from game to game, opening the game with a kick return of 68 yards.
Vann’s return set the Rattlers up with great field position, allowing for a touchdown on the opening drive. Three plays, 25 yards, 1:14 off the clock. The drive was capped by a 10 yard run by tailback junior Philip Sylvester. The Rattlers hold an early 7-0 lead.
And no, still no word on the missing drum majors.
On the short field, rain was a factor. With 7:30 left to go in the fist quarter, the rain has let up slightly and the Rattler offense is beginning to click. Quarterback Curtis Pulley’s passes are on target and tailback Philip Sylvester is gaining enough yardage on the ground to keep the defense from zeroing in on Pulley.
The long field doesn’t seem to be an issue either. Eight plays, 96 yards, 4:07 off the clock, and suddenly the Rattlers are up 14-0 with 5:54 left in the first quarter. Pulley is testing the Bison’s secondary, and so far, the Bison are folding under the pressure. A 46 yard touchdown pass from Pulley to sophomore receiver Kevin Elliot is proof of that.
Briefly touching back on the missing majors, all members of the band are refusing to comment on the issue.
Somebody has to send the punter this memo: When you kick the ball to Leroy Vann, he’s going to wave to you as he runs by you in the opposite direction. 40 yards and a touchdown on the latest return, and FAMU is starting to run away with this game. 21-0 and the first quarter still has 3:49 left to go
The first quarter is over, and the Bison offense has to make a few adjustments. Quarterback Floyd Haigler needs more time in the pocket, and the running backs need to start getting vertical. With only 39 yards of offense compared to FAMU’s 136, the Bison will either need to make big plays on offense, or stop FAMU’s big offensive plays.
As of now, neither seems possible.
When you have the lead and the momentum, going for the first down at the start of the second quarter, on the opponent’s 40 yard line seems like a great idea. When you have Curtis Pulley, it seems easy. FAMU is currently knocking on the Bison’s door again.
Whether it was a missed opportunity by FAMU or a defensive stand by Howard is irrelevant. Following an offensive pass interference call, FAMU had to back up from the redzone and opt for a career-long, 47-yard Trevor Scott field goal attempt.
Scott hit the field goal, and the Bison are now looking to capitalize on holding the Rattlers to three points instead of six.
All the Bison needed was a FAMU mistake to capitalize on. A blocked punt by senior Kenneth Austin-Bruce and a 30 yard return by sophomore Casey Council gave the Bison their first points of the night.
…Of course, with a touchdown comes another chance to kick to Leroy Vann.
So how do you solve the Vann problem? Kick the ball as short as humanly possible so he doesn’t even have a chance to take it back. The Bison gave the Rattlers great field position on a short kick to avoid the Vann threat.
Pulley obviously doesn’t care about the “momentum” the Bison were supposed to have. Another Kevin Elliot touchdown pass puts the Rattlers up 31-7 with 5:01 left to go in the half.
The Bison offensive finally showed some promise. 12 plays 53 yards and 4:24 off the clock in a drive the lead to a field goal. The simple fact that an offensive drive for Howard led to some points show’s that the Bison are improving.
Then again, it can also be argued that FAMU’s defense had a bit of a breakdown. Missed tackles led to a fourth down conversion, and a late hit by freshman defensive back Fabian Wilson gave the Bison the field position to kick the field goal.
A field goal that was answered by a Trevor Scott 51 yarder. Scott so far is 2-2, hitting from 47 and 51 yards.
Sylvester is currently leading the Rattlers in rushing,with 55 yards on 10 carries. Receivers Adrian Amith and Kevin Elliott lead the team in receptions and receiving yards respectively. Curtis Pulley is 9-15 for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On the Bison side, Haigler leads the passing attack with five completions and 49 yards. He is also Howard’s leading rusher with 25 yards on seven carries.
Both teams have avoided turnovers, and time of possession is similar with FAMU at 16:18 and Howard at 13:42. The production is opposite however. FAMU has 251 total yards on 25 plays, while Howard has 28 plays with just 92 yards.
With 11:43 left in the 3rd quarter, just when Howard looked like they were truly picking up some momentum, tailback Andre Williams fumbled the ball on FAMU’s 12 yard line.
Isn’t there a law of physics somewhere that says momentum must be conserved? Early in the 3rd quarter, both teams have had drives stall out at the last second. The latest drive by FAMU came to an abrupt halt after Pulley was blindsided and sacked on 3rd down. Let’s keep a little momentum going in one direction or the other, please.
Howard sophomore receiver Xavier Rucker brought another Bison drive to a halt with a fumble. Fun fact: No fumbles were lost in the first 30 minutes, where the rain was its hardest. In the second half, where the rain has all but stopped, 2 fumbles have been lost.
Why let Pulley do everything? Despite losing a back in a campus shooting, FAMU’s rushing attack seems to be just fine. 44 yards worth of rushing, capped off by a 10 yard dash by freshman back Eddie Rocker for the touchdown showed the Rattlers have plenty of offensive weapons to choose from.
Vann hasn’t been able to hurt the Bison over the past two quarters, because the Bison have been smart enough to not kick to him. The Bison decided to test their fading luck…again, and kick to the man that can only be described as a return specialist.
Vann sent the Bison a postcard from the endzone. 64 yards, and the guy didn’t even catch the ball on his first attempt.
Lee Corso said a while back that college football needs to implement a mercy rule. I’m kind of starting to wonder if Howard agrees. 45-7 to Rutgers, 48 (and counting)-10 to FAMU.
The 4th quarter has started and now junior quarterback Eddie Battle is in. Due to injury, Howard starter Haigler is out and redshirt freshman Jarad Dorsey has stepped in.
Fun fact: With his latest punt return for a touchdown, Vann has tied the NCAA FCS record for punt returns for a touchdown in a single career with seven. He currently has four on the year, one shy of the single season record of five.
Even the second string is capable of moving the ball against the Bison defense. The march down the field would have led to a touchdown, if not for a drop by freshman receiver Jeremy Tillman. Well, I suppose it was a drop anyway. It looked a bit more like a catch a fumble from here in the press box, but the point is moot. 41 yard field goal attempt was blocked, so an otherwise impressive drive by FAMU’s backups ended in disappointment.
All in all, a great effort by FAMU’s Rattlers. Final Score: 48-10.