The Rattlers 2019 football schedule was announced on Friday afternoon during an interview on 96.1 Jamz with Joe Bullard.
FAMU’s schedule is highlighted with six home games, including matchups against North Carolina Central on Oct. 5, which will serve as the homecoming game, and against the defending MEAC Champions North Carolina A&T on Oct. 19.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to have six home games,” said head coach Willie Simmons in an interview with WANM 90.5. “We feel like we have the best fanbase in America and we want to give our fans a chance to see Bragg and give (athletes) a chance to see our beautiful campus.
“We had record crowds last year, and we want to make sure we do a great job of exceeding that this year in 2019.”
With Simmons at the helm, the Rattlers (6-5, 5-2 MEAC) finished third in conference play last season. The Rattlers were in the driver’s seat for a chance at the MEAC Championship until a four-game losing streak down the stretch pushed them out of the Celebration Bowl picture. The season however, produced key wins against North Carolina A&T and North Carolina Central on the road.
The schedule also features a season-opening matchup against the University of Central Florida in Orlando, which is set to take place on Aug. 31. This will be Willie Simmons’ first game against UCF, and the first meeting between the two schools since 1987, which resulted in a 19-14 Rattlers win in Bragg Memorial Stadium.
Going deeper into the Rattler’s season, FAMU will open their home schedule against Fort Valley State University for the Jake Gaither Classic. The Rattlers opened last year’s home schedule with a rout of FVSU 41- 7. FAMU kicker Yahani Ali saw himself set a record by hitting all six of his field goals attempts along with three successful extra point attempts.
One game that will catch the eyes of many, will be FAMU’s game against Southern University Sept. 21. This game will be the renewal of a long tradition between the two historically black colleges on the gridiron, which dates back to 1941 where the Jaguars defeated the Rattlers 21-14. FAMU however holds the overall lead in the series with a 33-26-1 record against Southern.
“Obviously when I took the job that was one of the things alumni were really forthcoming about, they wanted to see us renew those rivalries with the Southerns of the world, the Tennessee States, the Gramblings,” Simmons said.
“We were able to work out a home-and-home deal with Southern University, so obviously they’ll come to us this year…we’ll return the favor and go to Baton Rouge in 2020.”
The other home games are against Delaware State (Nov. 2) and Howard (Nov.16th).
FAMU’s conference Florida Classic are against Norfolk State (Sept. 28), South Carolina State (Oct. 12), and Morgan State (Oct. 26).