Battle of MEAC Champions: FAMU to Challenge South Carolina State this weekend

The Florida A&M football team (4-3, 2-2 in the MEAC) will be playing a familiar conference foe in Saturday’s matchup against the South Carolina State Bulldogs (4-3, 3-1 in the MEAC).

Both teams hold a share of last season’s MEAC championship, along with the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.

This will be the 52nd meeting between the teams, with FAMU leading the series 30-19-2.

FAMU has not defeated SCSU since 2001, when the team picked up a 33-27 win in Alltell Stadium in Jacksonville.

The last win the Rattlers have in Orangeburg dates back to the 1997 season, when the team pulled out a 22-20 win in Oliver Dawson Bulldog Stadium.

The Rattlers are coming off a huge 47-7 win over the Savannah State Tigers, behind the 218 yard produced by Al-Terek McBurse. The game saw the first 200-plus yard performance since 2007, when it was done by Phillip Sylvester. (Game coverage: FAMU V SSU)

Head coach Joe Taylor attributed the victory to the success of his team in the Redzone.

“We’re 26-28 on the year in the Redzone and are number one in the conference offensively. It’s pleasant to see that when we put in the work in practice that it translates to the game,” Taylor said. “We are also number one in defense in the same category.”

Taylor also said the work of the special teams has helped in the category.

“When you got a guy like Trevor Scott kicking for you, you’re going to come out with at least a field goal on every possession,” Taylor said.

The Bulldogs are one game removed from a 23-13 win over the Georgia State Panthers, in which both linebacker Joe Thomas and place kicker Blake Ericson earned conference player of the week.

The eight-game win streak the Bulldogs have over the Rattlers is the longest streak for either of the teams in the series history that dates back to 1930.

The highest points total scored in the series is 80, done by FAMU in 1960 when they blanked the bulldogs 80-0.

Taylor said the gameplan that garnered the team’s success hasn’t changed. He wants to run the ball.

“If you are consistently winning, that’s because you can run the football. Our running backs all have the ability to make people miss and we’re going to let them do that,” Taylor said.

The team is determined not to let the meltdown from homecoming become a hindrance for the rest of the season’s success.

“I think we learned a big lesson at homecoming. What we saw last week was 60 minutes of solid football. The way you measure greatness is by the way you respond to adversity and what I saw last week made me even more confident when we travel to any venue,” Taylor said.

The game will be at 1:30 p.m. at the Oliver Dawson Bulldog Stadium in Orangeburge, S.C.