Special teams will be a major factor for the Florida A&M football team this week against the North Carolina A&T Aggies.
FAMU (5-3, 3-2 in the MEAC) is coming off a 27-24 win against South Carolina State University on Oct. 22. It snapped an eight-game losing streak to SCSU.
FAMU will face NCAT on Nov. 5 at Bragg Stadium. It will be the last home game of the season. The Rattlers are looking to continue to build momentum coming down the stretch of the conference schedule.
NCAT (4-4, 3-2 in the MEAC) is coming off a loss to Norfolk State last weekend. FAMU had a bye week last week, which gave them two weeks to prepare for the Aggies.
Head coach Joe Taylor said consistency on special teams is the key.
“We have to continue to cover well on kickoffs and punts,” Taylor said. “We are probably number one on kickoff coverage in the conference.”
Senior wide receiver and special teams gunner Edwin Baker agreed, and added that it is up to each individual player to contribute to the game.
“Doing my part and holding my teammates accountable will have a positive impact on everybody,” Baker said.
Taylor said FAMU’s defense should come up big against the Aggies rushing attack. The rushing attack features running back Mike Mayhew. Mayhew is averaging 100 yards a game on the ground and has seven touchdowns on the season. Taylor says that to stop him, the Rattlers must stuff the stretch zone plays that NCAT like to run off tackle.
FAMU will also need help in the kicking game. Since the Aggies rely heavily on Mayhew’s rushing, the Rattlers want to give them bad field position on every kick off.
“I have a full week ahead of me of executing and making the most of every practice,” Trevor Scott, a senior kicker from Jacksonville, said. “I want to make sure that I pin them back on every kick off and give them horrible field position on every kick.”
Brandon Holden, a sophomore punter from Jacksonville, has the same goal.
“I have to be a weapon out there. The further they have to go on offense gives our defense a better chance at making plays,” Holden said.
NCAT is coming off of two losses and will be looking to steal a win on FAMU’s senior night.
Both teams are trying to improve their MEAC records to 4-2. If the Rattlers win out the last three games, they will have a chance to advance to the Football Championship Series playoffs.
The Rattlers will be leaning on freshman quarterback Damien Flemming and a steady rushing attack from Lavontae Page. Flemming was selected as the MEAC rookie of the week after going 35-40 (85 percent) against SCSU.