The final showdown of the season will pit the Florida A&M Rattlers against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.
FAMU seniors will play their last Florida Classic at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando Nov. 19.
Senior wide receiver Kevin Elliot will return to his hometown to try and defeat archrival BCU for the fourth consecutive season.
“This is a homecoming for me. A lot of family and friends will be in the stands cheering me on,” Elliot said.
The Rattlers will have to prepare for an offense that features three mobile quarterbacks for the Wildcats. Senior free safety Greg Harvey said the defense will have to stay on its toes.
Harvey said numbers 8 and 5 the Wildcats’ two main quarterbacks.
“They are both run threats, so we have to stay up on them,” Harvey said.
FAMU (7-3, 5-2 in the MEAC) shares an identical record with BCU (7-3, 5-2 in the MEAC). The victor of the Florida Classic will be in the driver’s seat of the at-large bid for a Football Championship Series Championship berth.
Head coach Joe Taylor joked that some families aren’t talking this week because of their affiliations with the two universities.
“Neighborhoods from different cities will be in Orlando. The game will be on a stage in which real men will enjoy. The winner will have an extended season,” Taylor said.
The Rattlers have won the Florida Classic every year since Taylor took over the program in 2008. Each year, the Rattlers have gone on to an 8-3 overall record, but just narrowly missed the playoffs.
If the Rattlers beat the Wildcats this year, they will most likely not miss that coveted spot in the post-season.
This senior class has not lost to the Wildcats in their careers, but will be led by a freshman quarterback for the third consecutive season.
The Rattlers said they are not concerned about Damien Flemming’s inexperience in a game this big.
“Flemming will keep looking good as long as we do our part and catch whatever he throws at us,” Elliot said.
In order to win, the Rattlers will have to stop an offense led by sophomore quarterback David Blackwell. Blackwell is coming off a 350-yard total offense performance that landed him National and MEAC Player of the week honors. That total included 203 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He even scampered for an 80-yard touchdown that was one of three rushing touchdowns against Savannah State.
The Wildcats smashed Savannah State 59-3 on Nov. 12 and amassed 625 yards of total offense for the day. The Rattlers’ defense will have to try and bottle up BCU.
“The ratio of run to pass for BCU is 65/35. If we can stop the run game, we can hopefully stop the offense,” said senior linebacker David Williams.
The game will begin at 2:30 p.m.