With 2:02 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, North Carolina Central’s redshirt freshman Isiah Totten went in for the go-ahead score that would seal the deal.
Thursday night, at home in front of 18,488 fans, Florida A & M suffered their third loss of the season and their first in their division.
A win did not look promising after being down 14-0 at the conclusion of the first quarter. NCCU scored on an 18-yard scat from quarterback Chauncey Caldwell after being stopped on their first drive. The Eagles quickly added to their total on the ensuing possession when FAMU quarterback Ryan Stanley threw a pick-six to NCCU safety Davanta Reynolds for a 31-yard return.
FAMU showed a different level of tenacity in the second quarter. Ryan Stanley produced a strong series with the help of wide receivers Chaviss Murphy and Chad Hunter, which was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run from junior running back Devin Bowers.
After defensive end Elijah Price forced a fumble recovered by David Richardson on the 1-yard line, FAMU went on to score its second touchdown. NCCU’s defense held FAMU until fourth down, when Devin Bowers made a remarkable jump pass to Kevin Newman to add on to A&M’s point total.
With the scoreboard reading 14-14 at halftime, both teams’ momentum decreased a great deal as the third quarter began. Neither team’s offense could execute. After the Rattlers’ defense recovered another fumble, Devin Bowers burst for a 39-yard run that ended on NCCU’s 25-yard line. FAMU was forced to settle for a 36-yard field goal try, missed by Khalil Clark.
Totten’s fourth quarter score was the only score of the second half, which ultimately resulted in a win for North Carolina Central.
FAMU linebacker Jakaris Wilson voiced his opinion after the game.
“We played our hardest. It sucks that we keep losing to them every year in a close game, but at the end of the day I still couldn’t ask of more from the defense.”
With just one penalty and only 241 yards allowed, it was obvious the defense was not to blame for Thursday’s loss.
Quarterback Ryan Stanley took responsibility for the Rattlers' shortcomings.
“The offense didn’t execute. We were put in great position by the defense and we just didn’t come through—simple as that.”
Stanley continued, "We just have to get on the field and look at the film."
Head Coach Alex Wood added to Stanley's sentiments, saying, “We just didn’t do well. I mean, some of the things we knew we had to do to win—eliminate mistakes and score more points.”
The Rattlers plan to do just that as they face the (1-3) Norfolk State Spartans next Saturday, Oct. 7.