Column: Is this the new FAMU football team?

Royal A. Shepherd (RoyalShepherdFS on Twitter), Production Director

TALLAHASSEE, FLA., (www.franchisesportsonline.net) – You know, I can’t remember the last time Florida A&M’s football team drove down the field into their opponents redzone on its first three drives. Then again, I can’t remember the last time the Rattler’s defense suffocated a team into submission by halftime. Or at least I couldn’t remember.

Head coach Alex Woods and the Rattlers did both on Saturday. The team was both efficient on offense and stingy on defense for their noon kickoff against Texas Southern University.  It resulted in a pretty convincing 29-7 victory for FAMU in its first home opener since 2011.

Calvin Sykes | Franchise Sports Tallahassee
Vincent Jefferies carries the ball into the end zone during the third quarter of Florida A&M’s season opener. The Rattlers won 29-7.

FAMU’s opening drive started off promising. Behind a good mix of passing and running plays, the Rattlers marched down the field only to miss a relatively short field goal attempt. Of course, everyone was thinking the same thinking the same thing at this point: “You have to make those count. You never know how many chances they’ll have in the red zone.”

The answer was several.

In fact, the team got into the red zone on each of its first three possessions. Devin Bowers and Ricky Henrilus were extremely impressive in the game. They were able to give FAMU a solid ground game as a change of pace option. It looked like the type of dual-back tandem the team can lean on going forward. Bowers ended the game with 41 yards on 15 carries, while Henrilus had 14 carries for 81 yards. The team ended with 193 total yards on the ground.

The Rattler’s next drive was also a thing of beauty. Back-to-back spectacular runs after the catch by Marcus Williams, the redshirt sophomore out of Miami, set up a nine-yard QB keeper for a touchdown by Ryan Stanley. 

Let’s pause for a second and talk about Mr. Stanley, or as he will now be known, Sunshine.

 

 

 

Stanley was an absolute monster in this game, finishing 19-32 for 214 yards and a touchdown. He also had three rushes for 21 yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t just his numbers that were impressive, it was his general command of every situation presented to him on the field. It led to some interesting notions about a certain end of the year award.

 

His performance was only outshined by his hair, which reminded me of Billy Ray Cyrus a little.

The Rattlers’ hurry-up offense kept Texas Southern off balance every time they went to it. FAMU looked like a well-oiled machine throughout the first two quarters. TSU players, however, were gassed by the end of the half. They were a team that was beaten and knew it. 

FAMU’s defense played a big role in that feeling of helplessness. Although TSU accounted for 202 yards on offense, they struggled for everyone. The Tigers didn’t cross midfield until the fourth quarter with FAMU up four scores. The Rattler defense only allowed 62 rushing yards on 18 carries and 140 passing yards. They also came away with three sacks and an interception on the day.

The Tigers lone touchdown, a 30-yard hookup between quarterback Jay Christophe to Darvin Kirby, came when the game was already out of reach. 

FAMU needed all the momentum they could gather heading into Thursday’s game against the Arkansas Razorbacks on Thursday. This was a surefire way to gain some of that confidence. We’ll just have to see if they can keep it up all season. But for now, job well done Rattlers.

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