Rattlers Lose Season Opener 51-3.

Courtesy of FAMU Athletics

TAMPA- The Florida A&M University Rattlers lost 51-3 against the University of South Florida Bulls Saturday, with more than 30,000 fans in attendance at Raymond James Stadium.

This is the first matchup between the two teams since 2011. The Bulls won 70-17 with Seattle Seahawks quarterback, and Tallahassee native B.J. Daniels, who threw a career-high 382-yards and four touchdowns.

Running back, Devondrick Nealy, a graduate transfer from Iowa State University, started the game with a 25-yard kick return giving the Rattlers decent field position. Redshirt quarterback, Carson Royal was sacked on third down giving the Bulls an opportunity to capitalize.

An Emilio Nadelman field goal gave USF a 3-0 lead heading into the second quarter.

Despite several penalties, Flowers found a way to lead USF into the end zone, with a 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver D’Ernest Johnson giving the Bulls a 10-0 lead.

USF began to take advantage of their momentum when Flowers threw a 45-yard bullet giving the bulls a 16-0 lead at halftime.

The Rattlers defense started out looking good, but could not keep up their momentum throughout the game. Defensive line has transitioned from last years 3-4 defense to a 4-3 scheme focusing on their pass rushers speed. 

Nealy complimented the defense by how well he played. Nealy believes the offense could not take advantage of the opportunities they were given.

“The defense played a great game,” said Nealy. “We just had to come back and complement them.”

The Rattlers forced Flowers to throw a interception that was caught by junior free safety Jacques Bryant.

“We came out with a lot of energy in the first half to stop the run," said Bryant. "We had a couple missed assignments, so we are going to evaluate on Sunday and get back to it on Tuesday."

Due to cramps, Royal was replaced with junior quarterback Kenneth Coleman in the third quarter. Coleman finished with 135 yards, completing 14 of his 29 passes, with two interceptions.

Head Coach Alex Wood expressed that Royal will remain the starting quarterback, but Coleman will be receiving playing time.

“We put Kenny in and he did pretty good,” Wood said. “I think it put the heat on Carson. We had plans to use Kenny in certain situations tonight, but a little longer than expected.

The combination of Coleman and USF penalties set up kicker Colby Blanton for a 21-yard field goal ending the third quarter 30-3.

FAMU could not stop the Bulls, allowing them to score three unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter making the final score 51-3. 

Wood expressed his concerns about the offense.

“We have work to do and we know where we have to work at,”  Wood said. "Offense was one of those areas. We knew coming in what some of our shortcomings were, but until we played we didn’t know exactly where they were."

The Rattlers will try to bounce back next Saturday in Birmingham, Ala., against the Samford Bulldogs kick-off is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.