Defense ready for FBS challenge

So far, Rattler football has been a story of success.

Quarterback Curtis Pulley has been the anchor for a strong offense that is currently at the top of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in every category and is averaging 33.5 points per game.

Return man Leroy Vann is a long break away from breaking the Football Championship Subdivision record for punt return touchdowns in a season.

The Rattlers are undefeated at 4-0, bringing down conference rivals Delaware State University and Howard University.

They blew out Tennessee State University; a team that has given the Rattlers fits in previous years.

“You can’t say enough about the young men,” Coach Joe Taylor said. “It’s their hard work that has gone into it. They decided last year that they wanted to be pretty good.”

Now the defense, currently ranked second in the MEAC, is looking to write the next chapter in the story with a strong performance against the University of Miami Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes opened their season with one of the hardest schedules in FBS college football, squaring off against top 20 teams Virginia Tech, Florida State University, Oklahoma and Georgia Tech.

During these games, the Hurricanes averaged 24.8 points per game behind quarterback Jacory Harris. Harris has stepped into the spotlight this season, leading the Miami’s return to prominence on the national stage.

“Harris is a pretty good guy, probably one of the best we’ve faced so far,” said third-year defensive back Curtis Holcomb. “We have a good pass defense, we have a good rush defense, as long as we put the pressure on him we can make plays.”

So far, the defense is averaging a conference best 11 allowed points per game. Claims that the defense has not been tested have been met with hostility.

After Murray Bartow, head coach of the Tennessee State Tigers, claimed the defense was untested, the Rattlers responded with a 34-12 victory.

Continued success on the defensive end will be key to a FAMU victory.

“As far as Miami, they’re just another team getting in the way of our goal,” Holcomb said.

“We want a championship. We’re just going to go out, play them like any other team and try and get a win.”

Miami is a switch from the competition FAMU has played against so far. As an FBS team, Miami plays arguably stronger competition, and so far, the Hurricanes are a successful team.

In contrast, the Rattlersare beating teams that are anything but successful.

Overall, FAMU has only beaten one team that is currently at .500 and the teams they have beaten have a total record of 5-12.

“It doesn’t matter if you play D-2 or D-3 if you winnin’ then you winnin’,” said second year linebacker John Williams. “We just need to come out with the mindset that we want to be the best and we don’t care who we’re playing against.”

“Everybody believes that we can change history, just looking at it right now,” Williams said. “Growing up in Miami, this is what I’ve been waiting for my whole life, watching the Hurricanes and getting the chance to play against them.”