Rattlers fail to strike in season opener

FAMU punter Chris Faddoul sends a kick deep versus No. 17 UCF on Thursday.
Photo courtesy Rattler Productions

The Florida A&M football team opened the season Thursday against a tough opponent — the University of Central Florida. The Knights are ranked No. 17 in the NCAA Top 25 AP poll, but that’s no excuse for not putting some points on the board.

UCF marched all over the field against the Rattlers as FAMU struggled on both sides on the ball. It was painful to watch this game on CBS’ sports network and see no intensity or execution from FAMU.

UCF took its foot off the accelerator in the second half after building a 48-0 lead at halftime on the way to a 62-0 final score. Brandon Wimbush, the Knights’ starting quarterback, wasted no time and scored on his first offensive drive with a 37-yard pass to Gabriel Davis.

FAMU  quarterback Ryan Stanley was under constant pressure from UCF’s defense, and possibly some self-imposed pressure as well.Maybe it the crowd, but Stanley was off the entire night. Some of the blame goes to the offensive line because they were struggling to hold their blocks.

Wimbush continued to shine as the Rattlers continued to fall and fall. The Knights switched from Wimbush to redshirt freshman Dillion Gabriel and he continued the beatdown on the Rattlers. The defense looked tired; there was no apparent intensity and no one from FAMU set the tone or showed heart. FAMU’s defensive star Elijah Richardson was out for the game but the way they were playing it wouldn’t have made a difference. Every drive Florida A&M had ended in a punt except one drive where the Rattlers attempted a 37-yard field goal and it got blocked.

That’s right. The one time the Rattlers drove down the field to attempt to get some points the field goal gets blocked.

It was a rough and long night for Stanley, who finished the game with 7 completions on 24 attempt for just 52 yards.

The Rattlers switched quarterbacks and redshirt freshman Resean McKay was 7 of 12 for 40 yards. But his numbers paled in comparison to Wimbush and Gabriel.

The best part of the Rattlers’ nightmare night was punter Chris Faddoul, who averaged 48.5 yards on 11 punts. Everything else belonged to the Knights, who totaled 694 yards of offense. FAMU managed just  4 yards rushing. The Knights had 42 first downs to FAMU’s 9 the lopsided stats go on and on.

It had to be a long bus ride home. The Rattlers will look to bounce back against Fort Valley State Sept. 14 at Bragg Memorial Stadium.