The Florida A&M University football team once again proved this past weekend why they are the superior team in this rivalry that dates back over two decades. The Rattlers defeated the Bethune Cookman Wildcats in style 41-20.
This was the Rattlers’ ninth win in a row and their third straight nine-win season, finishing off the season 9-2. Quarterback Jeremy Moussa had a nearly flawless game from the offensive side of the ball, going 15-19, 195 yards, and added on two touchdowns.
Heading into this game, the Rattlers were currently ranked 24th in the recent AP Coaches poll and were over 14-point favorites heading into this matchup with Bethune, who was before the game 2-8.
Going into halftime, the score was 27-7, and the Rattlers could hold the Wildcats’ offense to just 7 points in the first half; however, one key takeaway from this game was the inconsistency from the Rattlers’ defense which allowed the Wildcats to come back in the game.
This inconsistency ultimately led to the Wildcats making the score look closer than the actual game was.
While the Rattlers did seal the victory, they were disappointed the next day as the FCS Playoff committee did not select the Rattlers to be a part of the tournament.
Head Coach Willie Simmons sent a video Sunday afternoon expressing the downright disappointing results from the selection show.
“Obviously a very disappointing day for our program that we didn’t get invited to the FCS Playoffs,” Simmons said.
While the disappointment and anguish were very evident, Simmons also spoke about how proud he was of his players stating, “My heart just goes out to these young men as they have fought hard for this program, and they did what they needed to do on the football field to show that they were deserving of an opportunity to play for a national championship.”
The big question for the program now is, “What’s next?” To give a little insight, the team is losing wide receiver, Xavier Smith and defensive back, BJ Bohler. Quarterback Jeremy Moussa is also departing from the program, and these are three huge pieces on a very pass-heavy team, who is stout on the defensive side of the ball. Not to mention the lack of diversity when recruiting players and how the team can strengthen not only their wins but their level of competition with opponents.
It’s safe to say that the season has already begun for the Rattlers, as this will be the most crucial offseason for the program in recent years.
In the meantime, Rattler fans everywhere can enjoy their bragging rights after this Classic. FAMU is now ranked No. 20 nationally in the newest AP Coaches poll.