Fresh off a big homecoming win over Norfolk State, the Florida A&M football team will be thrown right back into the gauntlet of MEAC play when it takes on North Carolina A&T this Saturday.
As of Tuesday, despite Hurricane Michael closing the university from Tuesday through Friday, Simmons has said he hopes to be leaving on a charter bus on Friday for North Carolina.
Sitting atop the MEAC standings at 4-2 overall and 3-0 in conference play, the Rattlers are hitting their stride at the right time.
Led by junior quarterback Ryan Stanley the Rattlers’ offense will have their hands full, as they take on a stingy defense in a hostile environment. The NCA&T Aggies are the defending HBCU national champions, currently sitting at the No. 2 spot in the rankings with a 5-1 record.
This will be another huge road test for the Rattlers. It also represents an opportunity for a young team to gain experience in a big game. The Rattlers passed their first MEAC road test knocking off NCCU 55-14. Another win on the road would cement the Rattlers’ place as true contenders in the MEAC. Coach Willie Simmons told the media prior to FAMU”s first road test that “Anytime you're trying to win a championship you have to learn how to win big games on the road in conference.”
The NCA&T Aggies are led by senior quarterback Lamar Raynard, who in their last game broke the school career touchdown record making him responsible for 70 touchdowns. Raynard, the MEAC offensive player of the year in 2917, accounted for all five touchdowns this past Saturday, throwing three and running for two. The Aggies’ offense has numerous ways to attack their opponents.
With both teams having experience at quarterback in Stanley and Raynard, the matchup should come down to who can create the most big plays and sustain positive drives.
Both teams will look to capitalize in the special teams department. The Aggies kicker Jose Romo-Martinez has shown range of more than 50 yards and the Rattlers’ All-American punter Chris Faddoul leads the FCS in punt average at 48.2 yards per kick.
If the Rattlers pull off the road win that would make four wins in row, a feat the team hasn’t reached in years. Simmons hinted about the Rattlers starting a win streak prior to the NCCU game. “If we clean up our penalties and turnovers I believe we can win a few in row and be one step closer to our goal of a conference title,” he said.
The game will kick off at 1 pm Saturday in Greensboro, North Carolina and will be streamed live on ESPN3.