The Florida A&M football team lost to the No. 5-ranked Oklahoma Sooners 69-13 Saturday night.
“We were very confident going into the game,” said RB James Owens. “We were just focused on doing what we were taught in practice and sticking to our assignments. We had lots of energy.”
Both defenses forced the opposing team to punt at the start of the first quarter, but Oklahoma would not be denied for long as RB Damien Williams rushed into the end zone from 3 yards out with seven minutes left in the first quarter.
After another FAMU punt on the ensuing drive was returned for 43 yards by Penn State transfer Justin Brown, Williams scored on the ensuing possession 14-0.
QB Damien Fleming’s pass was intercepted on the next drive, but the Rattlers remained focused and managed to swing the momentum by forcing the Sooners to punt and turn the ball over twice within the next three Oklahoma drives.
The Rattlers got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when Chase Varnador nailed a 41-yard field goal, bringing the Rattlers within 11 points. That would be the closest FAMU would get all night.
The Rattlers were resilient on their next possession as Fleming found Travis Harvey open for a 75-yard pass that went for the Rattler’s only touchdown of the night.
Oklahoma would score on the ensuing drive on an 18-yard pass from Landry Jones to Trey Metoyer, making the score 35-10 heading into halftime.
The Sooner defense held FAMU to just a field goal in the second half, allowing just 61 total rushing yards and forcing the Rattlers to punt the ball away ten times.
FAMU’s defense allowed the Sooners to rack up 662 total yards, more than doubling the 235 total yards they earned on the ground and through the air on Saturday.
FAMU won both the turnover and penalty battle, only turning the ball over once and committing two fewer penalties. But the offense struggled to find any consistency, converting only nine first downs to Oklahoma’s 33.
Although the Rattlers got trounced they received a huge payday to the tune of $650,000.
“We got some turnovers and moved the ball,” said head coach Joe Taylor, according to ESPN.com. “That let’s you know there’s a lot of potential in this club. That, to me, is very encouraging.”
The Rattlers play at Bragg Stadium in their first home game of the season Saturday against the Hampton Pirates. The Rattlers will be looking to get their first win.