Football team tries to stay perfect

Perfection heading into the bye-week is something that few teams can claim. Next up, the Rattlers will take on the University of Miami Hurricanes, following their upcoming bye-week.

The last time Florida A&M University took on the Miami Hurricanes in the season opener, the ‘Canes were not only top-ranked and quarterbacked by Heisman candidate Ken Dorsey but also had aspirations of a national title.  FAMU lost to the ‘Canes 63-17.

This year, the Associated Press poll ranks the Hurricanes at 17. Despite a recent loss to the sixth-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies, with quarterback Jacory Harris, the Hurricanes are looking to reassert their dominance of the collegiate football scene.

Is history destined to repeat itself?

The Rattlers are currently averaging nearly 34 points a game off a mostly balanced offensive attack.  In addition, with 700 yards on the ground and 877 yards through the air, they are able to keep the defense from zeroing in on one aspect of the team’s attack.

Adding in the playmaking ability of senior quarterback Curtis Pulley doesn’t hurt either.  As a passer, Pulley has taken care of the ball, throwing for seven touchdowns and only one interception so far this year.  Pulley also has the ability to make plays with his feet, rushing for an average 6.2 yards per carry.

On the rushing end, the team uses a mix of backs and Pulley keepers. Running backs, Eddie Rocker and the recently returned Philip Sylvester, contribute to helping the balance of the attack throughout the game.   

The team’s defensive approach has served them well over the first four games.  Against Winston-Salem State University and Howard University, the Rattlers allowed each team only 10 points.  Delaware State University and Tennessee State University shared similar fates, scoring only 12 points each.

On special teams, the most obvious threat is senior cornerback and return man Leroy Vann, who currently has four punt return touchdowns on the year.  Vann’s returns put the Rattler offense in position to score. The field position also takes the pressure off the offense to drive at least 80 yards down the field on every possession.

So is history destined to repeat itself?  Not really.

Are the Rattlers capable of defeating the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranked Miami Hurricanes?  Of course they are. Rankings mean very little as top teams fall with an alarming frequency, typically to unranked teams.

The pieces are in place, the Rattlers are currently riding a winning streak and after this week, they will be well rested and ready for any challenge.

On the flip side, Harris and the Hurricanes will more than likely be ready for the challenge.  The Hurricanes are in the midst of a four-game stretch versus ranked teams.  So far, they are 2-1 in that stretch, and will look to go 3-1 against the injury-plagued Oklahoma Sooners.

Plus, the Hurricanes will not want to lose at home, and Land Shark Stadium is by no means a friendly place to play.

This will not be an easy game, but like all games, it will be a winnable one.  Neither team will back down. The game will boil down to who wants it more and who’s willing to grab it.