Three-peat for FAMU football

Coach Simmons hoists trophy after winning the Florida Classic. Photo courtesy: Asia Ussery

ORLANDO  — For the third year in a row, the Rattlers remain champions.

Florida A&M defeated Bethune-Cookman 24-7 Saturday in the annual Florida Blue Florida Classic.

The fan support for the game was hard to miss, as the attendance in Camping World Stadium reached 56,227, which is the highest at the game since 2011.

This win helped the Rattlers notch a 10-win regular season – the first since 1999.

“10 wins in a regular season hasn’t been done around here in a long time,” FAMU head coach Willie Simmons said in the post-game press conference. “I’m honored to be the leader of such a great group of young men.”

Running back Terrell Jennings was crowned the game’s Most Valuable Player as he rushed for eight carries and a team-high 62 yards, while adding on two touchdowns.

He dedicated his special performance to his family.

“I lost my aunt two days ago, so my heart has been heavy this whole weekend…  I was playing for her. And my family just being here just gave me the boost to go even harder,” Jennings said.

The ‘Dark Cloud Defense’ showed up once again for the Rattlers, holding the Wildcats to only seven points – their lowest points scored in the game since 2009.

Team captain and defensive leader Isaiah Major spoke on his message throughout the week to keep the defense on par to playing up to the FAMU standard.

“[Keeping the defense focused] is challenging at times,” Major said. “[The defensive players] follow along. It’s kind of easy to get to them, just talking to them and elaborating [to them] that I’m in there with you.”

The team has an off week to prepare for their next game, but Coach Simmons has no plans of changing up the script for the red-hot team.

“We’re not gonna change anything. We’re 10-1. So clearly, we’ve done something right… It’s the same thought process, the same routine,” Simmons said. “So, because it’s the SWAC Championship game nothing changes, our preparation will be exactly what is.”

The Rattlers next task is to host the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship on Dec. 2.

Just like the Rattlers today, Prairie View A&M won and clinched the SWAC West to force a rematch between the two teams.

The Rattlers knocked off the Panthers 45-7 during the homecoming football game on Oct. 28.

“[The team] is on a mission. So, for us, [Prairie View] is the next stop on that journey,” Simmons said.