Rattler football comes home

Fresh off its first win of the season, the Florida A&M University Rattlers (1-2 overall, 1-1 MEAC) take on the Winston-Salem State University Rams (1-2 overall) at Bragg Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

“We got our first home game so everybody’s excited,” said redshirt junior quarterback Albert Chester II, who passed for a career-high 213 yards in FAMU’s 31-23 win against Howard University last week. Chester said his numbers were good, but they weren’t his primary focus. “I was just glad to get the win.” Senior wide receiver Roosevelt Kiser was on the receiving end of most of those yards. He caught nine passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. He also totaled 153 kick return yards.

Even with its success in the air the Rattlers didn’t neglect the run. Redshirt sophomore running back Anthony Edwards has given defensive coordinators headaches during the first three games, rushing 56 times for 221 yards and four touchdowns. Last week, the criminal justice student from Atlanta rushed for a career-high 29 carries and 124 yards.

The Rattlers return home after trips to Detroit, Coral Gables and Washington. Players are excited about the opportunity to see the stands filled with familiar faces. “It’s still good to play in front of our home crowd,” Edwards said.

Following last week’s victory, junior linebacker Vernon Wilder said the orange and green must dictate the flow of the game. “We got to come out and dominate; keep our intensity going on in the game,” said the team’s leading tackler.

Wilder is one of the few veterans on the defensive side of the ball. Freshman defensive tackle Cameron Houston is part of the Rattler youth movement.

Houston was named conference Rookie of the Week after his performance against the Bison. He had four tackles, 1 1/2 tackles for loss and one sack in the contest.

FAMU and WSSU meet for the first time, but the series will soon become annual.

While FAMU has opened the season away from home, WSSU played its first three games in the state of North Carolina. WSSU has already played two MEAC opponents this season- North Carolina A&T State University and South Carolina State University. In week two, the Rams smashed the Aggies 41-14. Formerly of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the Rams officially move to the MEAC next season. But FAMU is not taking the visitors lightly.

“We’re treating it like it’s a conference game,” Chester said. Also, the Rattlers anticipate a similar effort from the Rams. “I expect for them to come and play hard,” Edwards said.

Redshirt junior quarterback Monte Purvis will lead the Rams offense. On the season, Purvis has completed 17 of 37 passes for 205 yards, a touchdown and one interception. Junior free safety Nathaniel Biggs paces the WSSU defense with 13 tackles. The contest is set to kick off at 6 p.m. Fans interested in listening to the game can turn the radio dial to WHBX-FM. FAMU students attending the game must have Rattler cards for entry.