Rattler football team looks ahead conference showdown against NC A&T


The Florida A&M football team have been all gas, no breaks with a fiery five-game winning streak. This weekend, they face another challenge, as the North Carolina A&T State Aggies prepare to match up against them in conference play. Head Coach Willie Simmons held his regularly scheduled press conference on Tuesday discussing his team’s recent performance and upcoming game.

Last week, the Rattlers traveled to South Carolina to defeat the South Carolina State Bulldogs in a back and forth battle. The Rattlers football team suffered two blocked punts that were returned for a touchdown but still put together a game-winning drive. They went on to win the contest 42-38.

Coach Simmons felt that the team put together a great game.

“It came down to the wire as the previous four have and our guys again, found a way to win,” Simmons said. It just a testament to their character, to their resolve, and their belief that as long as we keep playing, anything’s possible.

This will be the 67th meeting between the two teams as the Rattlers hold the edge of the Aggies in a series record 43-18-3. There have 27 games in the series that have been decided by one score. In last year’s game, the Rattlers defeated the Aggies in a close game, 22-21. 

FAMU faces a challenge this week. The Aggies are ranked the top spot in the Black College Football Poll and ranked 10th in the Football Championship Subdivision National Rankings.

“Obviously they’ll come with revenge on their minds knowing that we went to Greensboro last year to knock them off on a last-second field goal,” Simmons expressed. “My guys will have to be ready to play a 60-minute ball game, be sound in all three phases and allow our crowd and our band to get behind us to give us a home-field advantage, which we’ll need this week.”

Xavier Smith, FAMU football wide reciever
Photo courtesy Xavier Smith

A stellar defensive performance for both teams will be a critical factor this weekend as the

Aggies will more than likely aim to stop FAMU’s passing game and the Rattlers will aim to

stop the Aggies’ running game. The Rattlers have the number two rushing defense, while the Aggies have the number one rushing offense in the conference. 

Coach Simmons’s message to his defense is stopping the run. 

“Whenever you play good offenses like that, you want to take something away,” Simmons said. “If you take the run away and make them one dimensional, you give yourself a better opportunity, but if they can get their ground game established, it’s going to be really hard to stop them.”

Coach feels as though this game is going to come down to toughness, both mentally and physically.

“Our guys are getting ready for both and hopefully we’ll be able to show up and show that we’re the most physical team on Saturday,” Simmons said.

Kickoff for this conference battle is set for 6 P.M. (Eastern) at Bragg Memorial Stadium.