All posts by Calvin Sykes

FAMU Football Notebook

Calvin Sykes, Florida A&M Correspondent (@CSykesSportsU on Twitter)

Tallahassee, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – After a devastating loss on its homecoming, the Florida A&M Rattlers football team is on a three-game losing streak.

In his weekly press conference, FAMU head coach Alex Wood would only take questions about the team’s next game against Hampton University.

Defense remains the same

Throughout the Alex Wood era, the best part of his team has always been his tough and rugged defense.

This year, the FAMU defense ranks in the top-50 in the FCS in the following categories: #No. 10 in Pass Defense, #No. 27 in Total Defense, #No. 33 in Pass Efficiency Defense and #No. in Red Zone Defense.

“We just are playing better, and playing more inspired defense,” Wood said. “I think our personnel is a little bit older, stronger, faster, and more explosive. Our guys are playing hard. Defensive coaches are doing a good job implementing schemes that are geared towards stopping the opponents.”

Despite the high praise, Wood said his team still needs to work on stopping the run.

“We said that we wanted to stop the run, but we are not quite there yet.”

Stanley’s Progress

In the middle of season, quarterback Ryan Stanley, a redshirt freshman, has struggled with turnovers. He has thrown five interceptions midway through the season.

Facing Another Giant

Hampton is 3-0 in the MEAC. This will be the second week in a row the Rattlers face a team with a winning record.

“We got some common opponents, and different results,” Wood said. “It will be tough up there. We are really looking for to the matchup.”

Hampton averages 20.4 points per game and runs the spreads offense. He credits a big portion of that to the Pirates’ offensive line.

“They have bigger and thicker guys up front, and then zone you up defensively,” Wood said.” The running back gets behind them and pops out because no one can find him.”

Defensively, Hampton runs an efficient zone defense and only allows 18.2 points per game.

 

 

 

 

FAMU Football Notebook

Calvin Sykes, Florida A&M Correspondent (@CSykesSportsU on Twitter)

Tallahassee, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – Underdog?

Some of the greatest sports stories came from a single person or a team, it is these underdogs that have shaped the sports world one at a time.

Florida A&M is in the position of the underdog against one of the top-ranked Historically Black College and University (HBCU) teams in the nation.

The Rattlers have had to tolerate losing to North Carolina in back-to-back years during the Alex Wood era.

Numbers Don’t Lie  

Florida A&M is currently on a two-game losing streak.  The overall concern with the team is the penalties and turnovers, and Wood called the performance “very frustrating”.

North Carolina A&T is undefeated, with three Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victories against Morgan State, South Carolina State, and Delaware State.

One positive that has come during the losing streak is the rushing game.  The Rattler offense finished with 250 yards on the ground on Saturday against Norfolk State, the most since 2012.

“We had a good plan,” Wood said. “The kids executed that phase of the plan really well. Our offensive line did a good job of securing the line of scrimmage to create lanes for the runners to run in. Those guys did a good job getting yards after contact.”

Coach Wood hopes that this performance will continue against a North Carolina A&T defense who allow 10.2 points per game. North Carolina A&T’s well-balanced offense averages 41.7 points per game.

The positive for this underdog Rattler team is Wood has won every homecoming game thus far.

Injuries

LB Emillo Gibbs and RB Ricky Henrilus will return for the game against North Carolina A&T. The two missed Norfolk State game due to injury.

Famu offense and defense strikes early

Calvin Sykes, Florida A&M Reporter (@CSykesSportsU on twitter)

Tallahassee, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – In the first season opener since 2011, Florida A&M faced Texas Southern at noon in the Jake Gaither Classic at Bragg Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Rattlers defeated the Tigers 29-7 in front of 15,401 fans.

The Rattlers opened their first offensive drive moving the ball downfield easily but came away with no points after a missed field goal.

“We missed on the first opportunity to score,” Head coach Alex Wood said. “We got down and drove the ball on the first drive. I was disappointed that we didn’t get something out of that.”

The first points of the game came off of Florida A&M’s quarterback Ryan Stanley’s legs. Stanley scored on a nine- yard rushing touchdown to give the Rattlers a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

The quick success of Stanley against Texas Southern sent the twitter world in a frenzy, being touted as a Heisman hopeful and recognized for scoring the first touchdown of the NCAA football season. Stanley was applauded as the first person to score a touchdown in the 2017 college football season as well as his stylish hair.

 


 

FAMU defense forced TSU to punts on the first two drives and held the Tigers in check through the majority of the game. FAMU only allowed 14 yards throughout the first quarter.

Orlando Mckinely attributes the knowledge of the system on defense for the early success.

“We know the system, and we’ve been in the system for three years,” said McKinely. For the most part, we are veterans and we understand what’s going on.

After Stanley’s rushing touchdown, the Rattlers would have no trouble keeping the success of the up-tempo offense going. Stanley said the passing game was made easy because of the success the team was having on the ground. The success, he said, was due to the work of running backs coach, Roderick Plummer.

“Our backs did a real good job. Bowers, Rickey Henrilus and some young guys got in and got some good reps,” Stanley said. “Coach Plumber does a good job with our running backs, and not even just the run game but protection too.”

Calvin Sykes | Franchise Sports Tallahassee
FAMU’s Ricky Henrilus takes a carry in the third quarter.

Vincent Jefferies, a senior transfer, was brought into the game to run the offense late in the second half, but he did not complete any passes. Jefferies missed on all three of his pass attempts.

“We told Vincent and Ryan both that Vincent was going to play,” Head coach Alex Woo said. “It’s his senior year. It is just not because it’s his senior year. We just don’t give reps just because. He’s earned it, he brings value to the game and his explosiveness. He didn’t create a turnover, and that’s important.”

Jeffries would get a chance to lead the Rattlers to a successful drive in the third quarter. One in which he capped it with a rushing touchdown on a broken play.

On the other hand, Sothern had no success on the offensive side of the ball. Jay Christophe could only connect with his receivers 3 times out of 14 attempts.

“Our quarterback had a tough day,” said Southern Head coach Michael Haywood. “Last year, he went the first game of the year, and he struggled coming back, but everything can be corrected from his mistakes.

Starting the second half down 20 points, Southern’s return man went back into the end zone to take a knee resulting in a safety.

TSU’s only score came off a 35-yard TD from Jay Christophe late in the game.

The Rattlers will face the Arkansas Razorbacks on August 31 at 7 p.m. Central Time.

Florida A&M defeats Hampton

Calvin Sykes, Correspondent (CSykesSportsU on Twitter)

Florence Ouattara scored 20 points to lead Florida A&M past the Hampton Pirates 62- 44 on Monday at Al Lawson Multi-Purpose Center.

Shakerrya Morrison had 14 points and Cedricka Sweeting added 10 for FAMU (10-16, 8-5 MEAC).

Monnaz Finney- Smith, who ranks number 12 in scoring in the Mid- Eastern Athletic Conference, scored 16 points to lead Hampton.

Katherine Broomfield | Franchise Sports Tallahassee

 

The Rattlers outrebound the Pirates 55 to 36 behind the second leading rebounder of the MEAC Morrison.

“I love how gritty [Morrison] is on the boards. She just loves to rebound and I mean she doesn’t need to score. She just has a nack for the ball. She is just relentless on the boards, but my goal for her is to be first in the MEAC standings for rebounding,” FAMU head coach LeDawn Gibson said.

Florida A&M was held to 9 of 31 shooting from the field in the first half as opposed to the Pirates only making 8 of 28. Florida A&M out- shot the Pirates from the three point line – 64 to 50 percent.

Hampton pulled within 26 – 23 on a 3-0 run, but Ouattara made a three pointer to extend the Rattlers’ lead. FAMU led 29-23 at halftime after leading by as many as 11 points at the mid-way point in the first half.

The Rattlers took control after of the game after Hampton’s brief burst. The Rattlers went on a 13-6  run to push the lead to 42-29 and held on for the rest of the game.

Because it was Senior Night for FAMU, it was their final home game of the season. The Rattlers will next play South Carolina State in Orangeburg, S.C. on Saturday. Tip-off will be at 2 p.m.

FAMU Depth and Size Too much for Delaware State

Calvin Sykes, Correspondent (@CSykesSportsU on Twitter)

Shakerrya Morrison’s double-double to led the Florida A&M Rattlers women’s basketball team past Mikah Aldridge and the Delaware State Lady Hornets 69-61 on Monday afternoon in AL Lawson Multi-Purpose Center.

The Rattlers starting five combined for 38 out of 59 points scored in the game. Aldridge scored 13 points with four rebounds and 3 assists for the Hornets.

Katherine Broomfield | Franchise Sports Tallahassee

Rattlers shot 35.2 percent from the field and took 43 shots from the free throw line, converting 25. The Hornets shot 35.8% percent and made all 14 of their shots at the charity stripe.

“I don’t think we shot well as a team tonight, but they made it when it counted,” LeDawn Gibson said. ” As a coach, I am very pleased but we have a lot of work to do but we won at the end of the day.”

FAMU dominated the glass (53-38) behind Morrison’s 21 rebounds.

“It was big but I really did want 63 rebounds,” Gibson said. “At the same time, I am pleased with the 53 rebounds but we have to keep working.  I recruited [Murray]  because she brings energy and the determination on the boards.”

FAMU led by as many as 11 points during the final moments of the game before the Hornets cut the lead to one. The Rattlers responded with a 5-0 run.

This win pushes the Rattler’s winning streak to five games and hopes to move higher in the MEAC standings with six games left. The next game will be played against North Carolina A&T at the Corbett Sports Center on Feb. 11.

 

 

Sports Brief: Florida A&M versus Delaware State

Calvin Sykes, Correspondent (@CSykesSportsU on Twitter)
 
After Saturday’s win,  the Florida A&M women’s basketball team extended their current winning streak to four games.  The win lifted them from 10th place in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) standings to a sixth place tie in the standings with seven games left.
 
The Rattlers (7-15, 5-4 MEAC) host Delaware State today in the Al Lawson Muti-Purpose Center at 6 p.m. In the last meeting between the two teams, the Rattlers defeated the Hornets 65-56.
 
“I think last game against Delaware State was exciting, and they are a pretty decent team,” said head coach LeDawn Gibson said. “When the score got away, they did some things and got back in the game”.
 
The Lady Hornets are 7-16 overall, but are ranked second to last in the MEAC standings. Free admission will be granted to anyone with a valid FAMU ID.

Rattlers close game in the final minutes

Calvin Sykes, Correspondent (@CSykesSportsU on Twitter)

 

 

Shalaunda Burney- Robinson scored 15 points and added six rebounds to lead Florida A&M past Sydni Johnson and the Howard Bison 55-51 Saturday afternoon in the Al Lawson Multi-Purpose.

“I just play game and there’s so much intensity. I just want to win so much that it urges,” Burney-Robinson said.  “If you want to win you’ll show that you want to win.

Florida A&M ( 7-15, 5-4 MEAC) had four players finish with six points: Alicia McCray, Shakerrya Morrison, Victoria Nguyen,  and Ny’Asia Davis.

Johnson scored 14 points for the Bison (10-10 , 6-2 MEAC) on 16-of-17 shooting with four steals and a rebound.

FAMU shot 34.5 percent (19-55) from the field including 16 of 23 from the free throw line. Howard shot 34.5 percent (19-55) and also shot made 10 free throws.

Both teams finished with 25 turnovers. Te’Shya Heslip, a redshirt senior guard for the Bison, committed the most turnovers in the game with eight.  FAMU head coach LeDawn Gibson said turnovers have abeen an issue this season.

“It’s been a disease for us all year. It is great to have 25 turnovers and still win because we did have some positives,” Gibson said. “Some of them were unforced and being too unselfish with the ball. We just have to keep working on it because it has been an epidemic for us all year.”

The Rattlers trailed by as many as 12 points at halftime before Davis cut the lead with three layups in the opening minutes of the third quarter. The team managed to cut the lead down to one before taking over the game on the inside.

“The plan was to get the ball into the paint,” Gibson said. “They play a wide 2-3 zone defense and 1-2-2 trap defense and the middle was open. The thing was to get the ball in the middle to 4 or 5.”

The Rattlers finished with a 5-0 run to win the game. FAMU will face Delaware State on Monday in the Al Lawson Multi-Purpose Center. Tip-off will be at 6 p.m.

 

Sports Brief: FAMU Women’s Basketball

Calvin Sykes, Correspondent (@CSykesSportsU on Twitter)

The Florida A&M women’s basketball team (6-15, 4-4 MEAC) host Howard University (10-9, (6-1 MEAC) today in the  Al Lawson Muti-purpose Center at 4 p.m.

In the last meeting between the two teams, the Rattlers fell short to the Bison 72-48. The leading scorer in the game was Erin Floyd for the Bison with 21 points.

Bison are 10- 9 overall, but first place in the MEAC standings. Free admission will be granted to anyone with a valid FAMU ID as part of the organgeout game promotion.