This Saturday a historic rivalry between two of the top HBCUs in the country will be rekindled in Tallahassee, FL.
The Jaguars of Southern University (1-2) will travel to Bragg Memorial Stadium to take on the Florida A&M Rattlers (1-1), in a rivalry that dates all the back to 1941.
This matchup will be the 61st meeting between the two schools, with the last meeting coming in the 2012 Atlanta Football Classic in which Southern won 21-14.
Look for this game to be a high scoring affair, with both teams lone wins coming in the form of blowouts. Southern University flexed their muscles last week as they blew out Edward Waters College 61-0, while the Rattlers handled their business against Fort Valley State, defeating the Wildcats 57-20.
Throughout the first few weeks of the season, both teams serve as the cream of the crop in terms of putting up points on the board for their respective conferences. Currently, FAMU‘s high-powered offense ranks second in the MEAC (Mid Eastern Athletic Conference) as they are averaging 28.5 points per game, while the Jaguars lead the SWAC (Southwestern Athletic Conference) averaging 37.7 points per game.
A key player for the Rattlers to watch out for will be Southern’s starting Quarterback Ladarius Skelton. Skelton is a dynamic playmaker for the Jaguars, as his dual-threat ability allows for the Jaguars to maintain their high level of consistency on the offensive side of the ball, whether it’s on the ground or through the air.
Florida A&M Head football coach Willie Simmons spoke highly of Skelton at his weekly press conference this past Tuesday, as he compared him to some of the big names in the college football ranks
“You hate to start throwing out names and comparing him to people, but you know Jalen Hurts and Khalil Tate —– those types of guys come to mind when you see him because he is a physically imposing guy that can run the football,” Simmons exclaimed.
One major factor that will come into play on Saturday evening will be the attendance of both teams.
Both the Rattlers and the Jaguars have fan bases that can make it extremely hard for any team to flourish in an environment, in what seems to act as the 12th man for both teams. Last season both Southern and FAMU were ranked in top ten for attendance in the FCS (Football Championship Subdivision).
Also, the Jaguars have a fanbase that likes to travel, as Simmons highlighted this sentiment in his press conference.
“Southern travels as well as anybody, they are going to be here,” Simmons said.
Those same fans may have an impact on the game with their support and even some hijinks.
Simmons mentioned some of the stunts that were pulled by fans during his time as an offensive coordinator at Alcorn State
“Some kind of way the kids got into our staff room, and when we came in the next day after the game we turned on the lights and there were highlighters and grease markers everywhere, as well as grease all over our boards and the projection screen.”
While all the talking will be done on the field along with many eyes glued to the television screen, the game will take place on Saturday at 6 PM at Bragg Stadium and will be broadcast live on ESPN 3.