Moussa not expected to start Saturday v. Lincoln

Photo courtesy: Florida A&M Athletics

For the first time this season the Rattlers will not have SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Jeremy Moussa under center. According to HBCU Gameday, FAMU coach Willie Simmons said he plans to start backup quarterback redshirt sophomore Junior Muratovic for Saturday’s game against Lincoln University California. Muratovic is an Orlando native who has started only one time during his three-year career at FAMU. This game will give FAMU a chance to assess what they have for the future since Moussa is in his last year of eligibility.

In last Saturday’s win against Alabama A&M University, Moussa threw for 245 yards and a touchdown. Simmons spoke of Moussa taking a big hit in the game against Alabama A&M, and added that Moussa could play this Saturday against Lincoln if he is needed.

Moussa currently leads the SWAC in passing yards (2,266 yards) this season. He also leads the SWAC in passing touchdowns with 18.

Lincoln University California comes into Bragg Saturday with a 0-11 record, so without Moussa the Rattlers shouldn’t have much of an issue putting this team away.

Simmons told the Tallahassee Democrat that he will go deeper in the depth chart this Saturday to preserve some of his starting players.

“We definitely want to play a lot of guys this week,” Simmons said. “There are some guys who are a little banged up and we want to try and preserve as much as we can.”

The Rattlers have the second-longest home winning streak in the nation with 18 straight wins, and they are looking to extend it to 19. Simmons in his talk show on Monday said he doesn’t want the players to get ahead of themselves and focus on one game at a time. FAMU plays arch-rival Bethune-Cookman a week from Saturday in the annual Florida Classic.

“Right now our focus is on this weekend’s game. We want to continue to be where our feet are and not get ahead of ourselves because that’s put us in the position that we’re in so far this year,” Simmons said.

Coming off a tough 42-28 road win against Alabama A&M, the Rattlers got off to a big 17-0 start in the first quarter that was sparked by special teams. Defensive back Lovie Jenkins had a 24-yard punt return for a touchdown that gave the Rattlers early momentum. Jenkins was also a force on defense leading the team in tackles with nine total. Simmons spoke on how the defense has improved and it showed this game.

“We moved Lovie Jenkins from weak side safety to nickelback, a position he hasn’t played since 2021,” Simmons said.

The Rattlers go into the game this Saturday ranked No. 9 among all FCS schools, cracking the top 10. Simmons says this is a very exciting moment for the program.

“We’ve slowly climbed up the ladder you know throughout the season,” Simmons said. “I think it means a lot. This is the coaches poll and so nationally coaches are paying attention to what we are doing here on the highest of seven hills.”