This victory was crucial for the Rattlers, especially considering their devastating 59-3 loss to Jackson State in last year’s Orange Blossom Classic.
Although the Rattlers won the game, they were held scoreless in the second half. Going into halftime FAMU coach Willie Simmons was not happy with the team’s play and voiced his frustration with quarterback Jeremy Mousa. The second half was even more challenging, with short drives and numerous penalties hindering the Rattlers’ progress.
“Well, the goal is always start fast and sustain it throughout the game. So absolutely we know what we did wrong, but we got to improve upon and obviously our guys locked in on that this week, so hopefully we have the same fast start but be able to finish it this week,” Simmons said when asked about the offensive game plan for Saturday night’s contest at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
USF, a member of the American Athletic Conference, is one of the toughest teams on the Rattlers’ schedule.
FAMU belongs to the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), and the AAC is clearly more competitive.
In its previous encounter with USF, FAMU fell 38-17.
The Rattlers are expected to approach this game with the same determination they displayed last week in Miami Gardens. USF is coming off a 41-24 loss to Western Kentucky, and it had a tough season last year, finishing 1-11. Under their new head coach, Alex Golesh, they are eager to secure their first win this season.
Although the Bulls lost their leading rusher, Brian Battie, to Auburn and two of their top receivers, Jimmy Horn and Xavier Weaver, to Colorado, they have shown promise with their new offensive lineup. Their new running back Nay’Quan Wright, had 111 yards on 17 carries last week while their quarterback, Brynum Brown, struggled. He threw two interceptions but managed 160 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.
It will be key for the Rattlers to slow down USF’s run game.
The Rattlers’ offense also performed well last week. Jaquez Yant rushed for 72 yards on 11 carries with one touchdown and Terrel Jennings added 75 yards on 11 carries. Senior receiver Jah’Marae Sheread had an impressive game with five receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. Mousa also had a solid performance, throwing for 150 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Rattlers appear to have a pretty good team this year, so an undefeated season is possible. FAMU’s defensive line looks massive while they also have a solid defensive backfield led by potential draft prospect Kendall Bohler. The Rattlers have all the pieces they ever wanted, but will it be enough to complete the upset against USF?