Rattlers look to rebound loss, charge the Spartans

Fresh off a tough loss to MEAC powerhouse South Carolina State University, the Rattlers look to step back on the right track and handle the Spartans of Norfolk State University in front of the home crowd.

In this year’s edition of FAMU Homecoming, the Rattlers, currently carrying a 2-4 record overall and 1-2 in the conference, will take on the Spartans, who are currently winless in the conference at 0-4, and 1-5 overall. The game is set for Saturday at 3 p.m., at Bragg Memorial Stadium.

“We had to immediately bounce back from last week, and pick up energy for this week’s big game,” said senior cornerback Keith Williams.

While the Rattlers’ confidence and ability to come out with a victory this weekend are at an all-time high, questions still abound concerning the current season saga of the ailing FAMU quarterback. To add insult to injury, the most consistent of the Rattler core, Chris Owens suffered a second quarter concussion in the 49-3 loss to South Carolina State. Owens was left sidelined for the rest of the game, after completing two passes for eight yards.

There is somewhat of a silver lining for the Rattlers though, as senior quarterback Josh Driscoll is set to make his return. Driscoll had been sidelined for the last three games. “We’ve practiced Josh on a limited basis this week, but believe he’s ready for the weekend,” said Rattlers head coach Rubin Carter of Driscoll’s return. “We’ve missed him and are excited to have Josh back with the team.”

With a week to rest and practice, the Rattlers look to put possibly the lowest point of their season behind them. In last week’s loss, the Rattlers managed only four first downs in the entire contest. This total happens to be the lowest since 1971. The Rattlers compiled 102 yards of total offense.

The Bulldogs of South Carolina State, however, managed to garner 563 total yards, with 342 rushing and 221 passing yards, in a contest lopsided from the beginning with a 28-3 deficit going into the half. The win boosted the Bulldogs to 3-0 in the MEAC and 5-1 overall.

With eyes toward the future, the Rattlers are focused on the task at hand, which is to send the Spartans back home in defeat. On their side, lies a solid defensive core that has had a knack for clutch performances throughout this season. For the offense, while lacking a permanent quarterback to anchor the squad still has plenty of threats and potential to put points up on the board.

The Rattlers look forward to big performances from these units with a receiving core led by juniors Roosevelt Kiser and Aubrey Parrish. Special teams look for big performances as well, on the heels, or toe for that matter, of sophomore kicker Wesley Taylor. Taylor is currently leading the DI-AA nation in punting average at 45.81 yards per punt.

“You can’t just treat homecoming like any other game. We thrive off of the crowd and cannot disappoint the fans,” said Parrish.

Coach Carter and his Rattlers have increased their focus in practice and seem to be ready for the weekend and the Spartans. “We know they’re a solid team that plays both sides of the ball,” said Carter.

“In order to win, we have to match their intensity.”

Contact Reginald Snowden at thefamuansports@hotmail.com