Undeterred by the loss of starting running back Phillip Sylvester, the Rattlers were able to rush for 209 yards during a 50-7 win against the Howard University Bison Saturday.
The win against the Bison gave Florida A&M its second Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory this season, placing the Rattlers’ at 2-1 overall.
Dual-threat quarterback sophomore Martin Ukpai led all rushers in yardage with 69 yards on eight carries.
Sophomore running backs Lonvontae Page, Eddie Rocker and James Owens quickly filled the void left by senior tailback Phillip Sylvester’s injury.
The dominance on the ground was something new for the Rattlers’ running back corps. None of the Rattlers’ running backs had seen the end zone prior to Saturday’s game.
Five of the seven touchdowns against the Bison came courtesy of Florida A&M’s ground game this time around.
Running back Eddie Rocker led the Rattlers’ rushing attack with 10 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns. He also contributed in the passing game, catching one pass for 78 yards that led to another Rattler score.
Rocker said the offense is steadily progressing as the Rattlers start preparing for the Atlanta Classic.
“I feel like were getting better and better each week,” he said. “We’re definitely starting to show it on field.”
Assisting Rocker in the backfield were Page, who rushed for 38 yards and two touchdowns and Owens who had a career-high of 54 yards on eight carries.
“I thought I had a decent performance after being a little edgy with a hamstring injury,” Page said. “It always feels good to put up 50 points and get a win. This is a good way for us to go into the Atlanta Classic.”
Page also mentioned that the offense has to remain humble as they prepare to take on Tennessee State this week.
“We enjoyed the win but its time to put that game behind us and focus on this week’s game,” Page said. “It’s important that we’re mentally ready for Tennessee State and go out and execute at the same level we did today.”
Even though Florida A&M outscored Howard by 43 points, Page said there were still some minor adjustments that had to be made.
“We just need to cut down on all the penalties,” Page said. “You never want to give away free yards to the opponent.”
Rocker also agreed that the Rattlers were going to have to eliminate the penalties if they wanted to be successful in their upcoming game.
“I felt like the penalties took away a lot of opportunities that we could have had,” Rocker said. “We just have to do better.”
Senior offensive lineman Chris Sands said that despite having several offensive linemen out with injuries, the Rattlers’ running game is still continuing to flourish.
“We had to shuffle a couple of things around on the offensive line because of some injuries and everything still ended up working out for us,” Sands said. “Our three young running backs came in and really played good for us.”
Sands also added that this win would give the Rattlers a tremendous amount of momentum.
“We definitely needed this game for momentum,” Sands said. “The experience in playing these kinds of games will help us, especially going into the Atlanta Classic. I know for me it’s my favorite game and it’s always really exciting.”