FAMU dominates in home opener

Nicholas Dixon and Darian Oxendine celebrate after a big play. Photo courtesy: Ashley Bigbee

Florida A&M started the game on the defensive side of the ball, but after giving up two early penalties, the University of West Florida began to establish its run game with a two-yard run from CJ Wilson, a six-yard run from Peewee Jarrett and a four yard from CJ Wilson.

The Rattlers’ defense took control after the run plays, forcing an incompletion on third down to get off the field. After taking a long third down snap the Rattlers caught a break, getting an illegal substitution penalty in their favor.

The penalty didn’t help the Rattlers as they punted the ball back to the the Argonauts. UWF’s second drive was more of the same as the first as they struggled to move the ball down field.

With 5:38 left in the first quarter, the Rattlers took the field for their second drive of the game. Both offenses were struggling, as FAMU only had 31 total yards and UWF’s total was at 23 yards.

The first quarter was a showdown of defenses as the game was tied 0-0 to start the second quarter.

“We executed the gameplan. Coach Smitty and the entire staff put us in position to succeed,” said Kendal Bohler when asked about the first quarter standoff.

The Rattlers began the second quarter with the ball on a third down, but a five-yard offsides penalty on UWF put the Rattlers in position to enter the red zone. The Rattlers established the run game in the red zone with Kelvin Dean. Eventually, the Rattlers capped off the drive with a field goal following an incomplete pass from Jeremy Moussa.

The Rattlers led 3-0 with 12:33 remaining in the second quarter. West Florida’s first possession in the second quarter started off with Quincy Milhommes giving them great field position with a 45-yard kickoff return.

Jamontez Woods was a huge catalyst on this drive getting the Agronauts into the red zone. University of West Florida capped off their drive with a field goal from the 14-yard line.

The score was 3-3 with 7:22 remaining in the second.

The Rattlers passing game showed flashes late in the second quarter as Quarterback Jeremy Moussa completed three straight passes, two to Jah’Marae Shread and the other to Jeremiah Pruitte. The drive stalled with back-to-back incompletions by Moussa, resulting in a punt.

After a false start and an intentional grounding call, the Rattlers had the Argonauts backed up near their own end zone. On 3rd & 22 the Rattlers’ defensive stand led to UWF punting the ball.

The first half ended with UWF taking a sack to go into the locker room.

Moussa came alive in third quarter, throwing for three touchdowns to three different receivers. The Rattlers were in control of the entire third quarter, scoring 21 points, while holding the Argonauts scoreless in the quarter.

Moussa credited the in-game success to many reps taken before the season.

“We got acclimated throughout camp, and we’re only going to get more comfortable as the season goes on,” Moussa said.

The final quarter was more of the same, as Terrell Jenkins ran for another Rattler touchdown. The FAMU defense continued to shine giving up only 10 points with six minutes to go in the fourth.

After giving up a touchdown pass the Rattlers defense stood their ground.

The Rattlers would go on to win their home opener in convincing fashion, with a score of 31-10.

“The Rattlers look great,” said Athletic Director Tiffani-Dawn Sykes. “I expect them to run the table, after defeating a conference opponent in week one.”