In Florida A&M’s last home football game of the season, the Bulldogs of South Carolina State University came into Bragg Memorial Stadium and walked away with a 44-21 victory. Although the game did not necessarily count towards FAMU’s Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) record, the 23-point loss still left Rattler fans speechless.
In the Rattlers’ post-game press conference, head coach Willie Simmons addressed questions about the team’s focus heading into the game against SC State.
“I don’t make excuses, we just didn’t come to play today. I don’t know where their mindset was, but it obviously wasn’t on football today. We also just didn’t do a well enough job to give ourselves a chance to be successful and again that starts with me,” Simmons said.
With the Rattlers currently on a two-game losing streak, FAMU still finds themselves in a good position to punch their ticket into the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta. With the current MEAC standings as of Saturday, not only do the Rattlers still sit atop of the conference (6-4, 5-1 MEAC), their dynasty lays solely within the palm of their hands. Even with an embarrassing loss in their final home game of the season, FAMU players and coaches are still optimistic and have their sights set on closing out the season against Bethune-Cookman University to claim the MEAC title outright.
“It hurt, it was our last time playing in Bragg Memorial Stadium this season and we couldn’t get the job done,” said senior defensive back Orlando McKinley. “It hurts really bad, but at the end of the day we have bigger things to worry about especially this upcoming week against Bethune-Cookman (University).”
As the Rattlers travel to Orlando, Florida next week, FAMU will have their hands full as they will face another team that loves to run the football and prides themselves on producing efficient offense through the option game. In next week’s game, the Rattlers’ defense will find themselves going up against quarterback Akevious Williams and the Wildcats of BCU (6-5, 4-2 MEAC).
Throughout the past two weeks, the Rattlers have not only had trouble defending the run-option plays that have been thrown at them, but they have also given up a total of 75 points within their last two games. Not to mention the two opposing quarterbacks they previously went up against (Caylin Newton, Howard University and Tyrece Nick, SCSU) were dual-threat quarterbacks that showcased the ability to scramble outside of the pocket and break down FAMU’s defense consistently.
FAMU linebacker Derrick Mayweather spoke about the importance of next week’s game against BCU in the team’s post-game press conference.
“This game coming up is probably the biggest game we (FAMU) has had within the last seven years and we’re going to have to take control along with having the right mindset starting tomorrow.”
Next week’s game will take place in Orlando, Florida at Camping World Stadium and will be broadcast on ESPN3 at 2 p.m.