Sports Column: The Florida A&M Rattlers are the best team in the MEAC

The Rattlers celebrating after defeating Norfolk State 17-0
Sydne Vigille | The FAMUAN

Coming off of a 22-21 comeback win on Saturday against the 10th ranked Aggies of North Carolina A&T and their fourth win in a row, the Rattlers are proving that their 4-0 record in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play (MEAC) is no fluke at all.

Before the season got underway, the MEAC preseason polls had the Rattlers projected to finish at the fifth spot within the conference. Although they came off a season last year where they saw themselves finish sixth place in the conference along with a mediocre 3-8 record, the anticipated bump up of only one spot, proved that many thought that the Rattlers were still going to be a middle of the pack team.

With the hiring of Willie Simmons to take over as head coach for the Rattlers last December, FAMU has taken the MEAC landscape by storm and has put everybody on notice. Through seven games this season, the Rattlers have already made dramatic increases in overall team statistics that has reflected in their 5-2 record.

Last season FAMU’s offense only saw themselves produce 22 points per game, while also giving up over 28 points per game. Throughout this season thus far, Ryan Stanley and the Rattlers offense are putting up over 27 points and 368.1 yards per game compared to last season’s campaign, where the offense only averaged only 345.5 yards per game.

The Rattler’s defense should be taken seriously as well, as they are the definition of lockdown defense and have given up about 30 fewer yards to opposing offenses this season compared to last season and are only allowing 11 points per game to their opponents in their five wins. (18.9 points per game overall).

Another reason the Rattlers have proven to be the best team in the conference is because of their play on special teams, thanks in large part to the Rattlers secret weapon: Chris Faddoul. Faddoul serves as the team’s punter and currently leads the MEAC in average yards per punt at 48.5, which in turn backs up the opposing team’s offense and allows the Rattlers defense to capitalize more often than not.

The Rattlers are not only poised to make a statement in the MEAC but also a statement to themselves. The Rattlers are already on track to double the number of wins they had last season and are in prime position to have their first winning season since 2011, where they finished 7-4.