After a recent history of losing seasons, coaching staff changes, and Academic Progress Rate (APR) sanctions, few would have thought Florida A&M football would bounce back so quickly. The Rattlers have shocked many and have proved they are to be respected and feared.
The Rattlers are off to merely a perfect start (5-2, 4-0) as they remain undefeated after a comeback win on Saturday against North Carolina A&T, 22-21
Their 4-0 start in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play is their best since 2001 and they can clinch their first winning season since 2011 (7-4) with a win in their final four games.
“Our expectations were to win now; we didn’t settle for anything less,” said head coach Willie Simmons during a press conference Tuesday. “I asked them is there any reason why we can’t. We have talented guys, we have the riches tradition in this conference, best fan base…lots of returning starters coming back, so why can’t we win now. And that was our approach from the very beginning,”
The Aggies are the highest ranked foe beaten by a FAMU team since 1999 when they defeated Appalachian State, 44-19 in the opening round of the FCS playoffs who No. 4 in the in the nation at the time.
Quarterback Ryan Stanley, who threw for 313 yards on 28 completions, has noted the difference between this year’s squad and last year’s team is there belief in the coaching staff and themselves.
“Last year not everyone was bought in and believed and now this year we got everyone bought in,” said the QB. “That’s tough to do but the coaches have done a great job with that since day one.”
One of the goals Simmons made earlier this season was to “restore the Rattlers to prominence.” As the level of competition seemingly gets easier for the Rattlers in the last half of their schedule, it is very possible they could win out the rest of their games and possibly win the MEAC championship.
“When I look at us being 4-0, I say it’s not 7-0 and that’s my approach,” said Simmons. “When it’s 7-0 then I feel really good about it. We still have three more conference games left, we still have four more games left of this regular season and there’s a lot of football left to be played.”
There is no question that the Rattlers are a different team this year being that their record was only 3-8 while only winning two conference games (2-6) last season
Before returning back to action against the Morgan State Bears, the Rattlers will have a bye week to rest up and regroup. The game will be broadcast on ESN3 October 27 at 4:00 p.m.