Rattlers extend home win streak to 17

Isaiah Major catches a late 4th quarter interception, that he returned for a touchdown. Photo courtesy: Ashley Bigbee

The Florida A&M Rattlers extended their home win streak with a 23-10 victory over the Alabama State Hornets.

Unlike last week the Rattlers got off to a quick start, scoring first at the seven-minute mark in the first quarter. Following the Rattler touchdown, the defense came out swarming, forcing the Hornets to punt.

Jeremy Moussa and the offense took over with 4:30 to go in the first. The offense was clicking on all cylinders after a few explosive plays from Kelvin Dean and Jah’Marae Sheread. After those electric plays, the drive stalled and led the Rattlers to punting the ball back to Alabama State.

The first quarter came to an end, with the Rattlers leading 7-0.

Sheread talked about the preparation that goes into facing a conference opponent and having to take the gameplan and execute it on Saturday nights.

“We knew we had to fight,” Sheread said. “Last year it was a close game, so we knew they were going to bring their A-game, so we had to bring ours.”

The second quarter started with the Hornets extending their drive after converting on third down. The Hornets were in prime position to score in the red zone, but an illegal man downfield penalty would derail the drive and force ASU to settle for a field goal.

The Rattler offense took over with 10 minutes to go in the second quarter but a three and out would force the Rattlers to punt the ball back to ASU. After the punt, FAMU’s defense would force a fourth down but the Hornets would go for it and convert on the fourth down. Later in the same drive with the ball on the 21-yard line, the Hornets would be faced with another fourth down that they would attempt to go for. Unlike the last time, the Rattlers defense was ready and forced the turnover on downs.

Moussa would get the offense going after completing a couple passes to Jamari Gassett and Jeremiah Pruitte. Moussa capped off their drive with a touchdown pass to Gassett that sent Bragg Memorial Stadium into a frenzy.

After a ten-yard penalty the Hornets would not be able to get anything going on offense and FAMU led ASU 14-3 at halftime.

Isaiah Major spoke on the resilience of the defense, which helped contain the Hornets to a near shutout first half.

“When we get in tough situations, we always find a way to keep our poise,” Major said. “They got in the red zone a couple times, but once we settled down, we forced a missed field goal and a couple four and outs.”

The Rattlers started the third quarter on offense but ended up punting the ball away. After minimal ball movement from the Hornets on their first few plays of the half, they stunned the Rattlers defense on a miraculous touchdown by Asa Gregg. The next two drives would be forgetful for both teams after a fumble by Moussa and a punt for the Hornets.

Moussa and the offense would fail to get anything going on their following drive, resulting in a 3 and out. After gaining momentum and driving down the field on the Rattlers, the Hornets entered the red zone looking to score. The Hornets ended the drive coming up short, with two incomplete passes and a minimal rush attempt, forcing them to attempt a field goal. However, they would miss the field goal attempt.

The third quarter would end with the Rattlers leading 14-10.

The start of the fourth quarter would be a difficult one for the Rattlers as they would go on to fumble to the ball once again. ASU could not capitalize on the turnover and ended up punting the ball back to the Rattlers.

Bragg Memorial Stadium could feel the pressure of this contest heating up, so the Rattlers had to answer on their next drive. The Rattlers would cap off the drive with a field goal to extend the lead over the Hornets to 17-10 with roughly six minutes remaining.

On the next drive, the Hornets hopes of winning this game would slip away from them after a pick six by Isaiah Major with under four minutes left in the game. The touchdown return took all momentum away from the Hornets for the remainder of the game.