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.
— Sleeper Athletes (@SleeperAthletes) August 26, 2017
FAMU quarterback Ryan Stanley has quite the headshot. pic.twitter.com/tXlxJmPxVm
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) August 26, 2017
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.”
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.