The Florida A&M football team made their return from their bye week to match up with the Alabama A&M Bulldogs.
The Rattlers and the Bulldogs were both battling to get their first SWAC win of the season. This game was crucial for both teams to stay alive for SWAC title contention.
The Bulldogs came out the gate hot with a five play, 52-yard scoring drive to go up 7-0 with 9:14 left in the first quarter.
The Bulldogs were successful with their running option and play action offense going with an interesting strategy of playing both quarterbacks Xavier Lankford, and freshman Quincy Casey.
The Rattlers were struggling to establish a run game early on as the Bulldogs’ defense was intense and commanding, limiting running back Terrell Jennings and forcing a three and out on the Rattlers’ first drive.
The struggles continued for the Rattlers as they tried to establish a passing game, but were unable to complete any passes during their second drive.
Despite the early struggles and being down 10-0, the Rattlers were able to regain their footing with a well put together drive by Moussa, which led to a 1-yard run for a touchdown by Terrell Jennings to make the score 10-7 with 14:03 left in the second quarter.
Once the Rattlers scored, the offense started to open up more. Moussa was 23- of- 41 for 343 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions, including a bomb to wide receiver Xavier Smith for 58 yards on their drive of the game.
Coach Simmons stated how the team struggled at the beginning of the game, but were able to prove themselves second half.
“We didn’t play our best ball in the first half, but the guys came out in the second half and showed what type of team we’re capable of being,” Simmons said.
Some impressive aspects of the game was Moussa’s ability to spread the ball to multiple receivers. Nine different players had receptions on Saturday. Of the nine receivers, Jah’Marae Sheread, who suffered a fractured foot during the offseason, exploded on all cylinders with seven catches for 138 receiving yards returning back. He is informally known by K-Dot amongst his teammates and peers.
The connection that stood out the most was the Moussa- Smith combo. As the Rattlers trailed by two scores toward the backend of the first half, they connected for a 20-yard touchdown pass to bring the Rattlers within one score.
The Rattlers’ defense throughout this game can’t go unnoticed. The Rattlers’ defensive front posted three sacks and tallied a whopping six tackles for loss.
Linebacker Isaiah Major led the Rattlers with 14 tackles and fellow linebacker Nadarius Fagan forced the Rattlers’ first turnover with an interception that led a rushing touchdown.
The team extended their home game winning streak to 12 and look to reset for their next game against Mississippi Valley St. next Saturday at 6:00pm.