Rattler Football: Third quarter report card

Pass Offense: C

Limiting mistakes to ensure victories, the passing attack has turned heads with the deep-threat ability of transfer receiver TJ Lawrence. He caught a 52-yard bomb against Morgan State University and quarterback Martin Ukpai threw his first touchdown pass in four games.

Better pass play has resulted because of protection from the offensive line.

“It’s always good to have guys healthy,” head coach Joe Taylor said.

Rush Offense: A

Led by running back Phillip Sylvester, the Rattlers’ rushing attack has been the focal point of the offense. Sylvester had a dominant homecoming game, rushing for 192 yards and two scores. He has rushed for more than 320 yards in the third quarter alone.

Pass Defense: B +

The rattler secondary is the strongest and most consistent part of the team it and features players who may have a chance to play on Sundays next year. Allowing only 255 yards in the third quarter, the secondary continues to make game-changing plays for the Rattlers.

“We know it’s our responsibility to not allow any deep plays or any touchdowns,” red-shirt junior safety Greg Harvey said.

Rush Defense: C

Giving up 171 yards on the ground would seem to be a nice average for a regular defense, but for a disciplined rattler team it is way too much.

“We have to start getting pressure and putting a hat on someone” senior defensive end Marquiste Ramos said.

Ramos and the front seven have caused problems in the third quarter of the season for opposing offensive lineman, but they’ve given up a few big plays that allow teams to keep games close.

Special Teams: A

The kicking game of the Rattlers is consistent. Lawrence has been a spark plug on punt returns and feels he can do more damage than what’s already been done.

“I have to get in that end zone, It’s that time,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence has 80 yards returning punts with a long of 47 yards. The consistent play has helped the rattlers with great field position to allow easy scores.

Redshirt-sophomore running back James Owens and sophomore defensive back Jerral Stewart have held onto the football and occasionally found daylight with scampers for big gains to help set up the offense with short drives.

Coaching: A

As usual, Taylor keeps the wheels turning and always gets his team prepared for whatever situation they seem to be in. He understands what it takes to be a competitor and has the tools to make Florida A&M a successful contender in the MEAC.

Overall: B +

Each area of the team is vastly improving and the Rattler football team is more focused than ever. Stellar defensive play along with a prolific rushing attack has the team with two wins in the third quarter.


The team is on a three-game winning streak and Sylvester has emerged as the featured back that the Rattlers thought he would be. The team has a shot at its first MEAC title since 2001 it wins its remaining games.

There are three games remaining this season, including one against the current first place Bethune-Cookman Wildcats. The rattlers must continue to improve to reach the goal of a post-season birth.