Rattlers stampede toward first victory against Howard Bison

The third time wasn’t a charm, it was more of a relief.

Finally, the FAMU faithful saw a quarterbacking performance that reminded them of past glory in the Rattlers resounding 33-20 victory over Howard University.

In the third game of the season, FAMU started its third different quarterback in senior signal caller Josh Driscoll. After waiting behind Ben Dougherty the past two seasons for an opportunity, the Arkansas State transfer completed his first ten passes en route to leading the Rattlers to a 14-0 lead 10 minutes into the game.

“Our leaders stepped up. When the quarterbacks step up the offense will be explosive,” said wide receiver Roosevelt Kiser, who led the Rattler receiving corps with seven catches and 61 yards.

Derek Williams capped off the seven-play 67 yard the first possession with a five-yard touchdown reception. It was the first touchdown reception of the season for FAMU.

“We all knew that Josh had that ability. He showed some tempo and had our offense going,” said FAMU head coach Rubin Carter.

Driscoll and the rest of the Rattler offense were going down the field for another apparent score early in the second quarter until he limped off the field with a hip injury. Carter said Driscoll will be further evaluated today.

With Driscoll laying injured on the ground, it gave FAMU offensive coordinator Bob Cole a chance to throw a wrinkle or two into the playbook. A perfectly executed wide receiver pass floated 28 yards from Roosevelt Kiser to Aubrey Parrish giving the Rattlers a 21-0 lead following Wesley Taylor’s extra point.

Kiser’s thoughts on the touchdown toss: “I’m used to it. I can take some hits and throw the ball.” The thought of Kiser throwing the ball should not be foreign, with him being a high school quarterback.

While FAMU was racking up touchdowns, the Bison were struggling to gain first downs. Another strong performance from the FAMU defense held the Bison without a first down until midway through the second quarter.

Not even 115 penalty yards and three first half turnovers by the Rattlers could help the Bison in the 30 minutes. Quarterback Ronald Venters completed only four of his 10 attempts and as a team the Bison were only able to manage 65 total yards, but Carter was not completely impressed with his defense.

“I didn’t like the last two drives. We have to do some self-study and self-scouting,” Carter said. “In this conference, you play solid defense, you have a chance to win.”

A 42-yard field goal from Wesley Taylor in the first half gave the Rattlers a 24-0 lead heading into halftime.

A confrontation with FAMU’s Marching 100 paused the second half kickoff by approximately 15 minutes and tempers flared to the point where both teams switched sidelines, after members of the Howard team came under a barrage of water bottles. It was not the first time tempers rose in this series. In the teams’ last meeting in 2003, players from both squads were involved in an altercation following the controversial ruling of a last second field goal attempt by the Rattlers.

Staking a three touchdown lead, Carter and company rode running backs Paul Sharpe, Anthony Edwards and Greg Arline in the second half. Starting tailback Rashard Pompey had only five rushes in the second half after amassing 103 yards on 15 carries in the first half.

Pompey credited his big day to the gaping holes the offensive line paved for him saying he, “felt anyone could have ran the ball the way I did. Right now it’s all about winning.”

Freshman quarterback Chris Owens threw the first touchdown of his career on a pretty 39-yard hookup to Kiser and Howard added a pair of late touchdowns.

“Tonight we went to our bread and butter, we went to Pompey,” Kiser said. “We’re trying to take it one game at a time and get better.”

Will Brown can be contacted at Wwbrown19@yahoo.com