Samford Holds Off Rattlers 27-20 In Nail Biter

Credit: Florida State Sports Information 
Penalties and miscues hamper FAMU Saturday afternoon
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Sept. 14) – The Florida A&M University Rattler Football team dropped a bitter 27-20 home decision to Samford (Ala.) University at Bragg Memorial Stadium Saturday afternoon, hampered by turnovers and penalties.
Quarterback Damien Fleming’s third interception came with 2:43 left in regulation, as he was trying to throw deep for a potential game-tying touchdown. Samford’s Josh Kimberlin picked off the deflected pass for his third interception of the game.
Samford (2-1) jumped to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, getting a 47-yard field goal from Warren Handrahan to open the game, followed by short scoring runs of eight yards by Fabian Truss and one yard by QB Andy Summerlin.
FAMU (1-2) got back into contention ending a potential Samford scoring drive, when cornerback Patrick Aiken picked off Summerlin and dashed down the far sideline 93 yards for a touchdown and a 17-7 score with 12:08 left in the second quarter.
Fleming tossed a five-yard strike to receiver Casey Glines with 5:15 before the half to close the gap to 17-13, as Chase Varnadore’s PAT try was blocked.
The visiting Bulldogs scored right before the half though as Summerlin tossed an eight-yard strike to Karel Hamilton with 56 seconds left in the second for a 24-13 halftime cushion.
Cornerback Devonte “Terry” Johnson snagged a second pick six interception for FAMU, racing 28 yards with Summerlin’s errant throw to cut the Rattler deficit to 24-20 with 7:11 left in the third period.
Samford closed the scoring with 13:23 left in the fourth period on Warren Handrahan’s 19-yard field goal which extended the Bulldog lead to 27-20.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: There were six (6) total turnovers in the game, three for each side (FAMU: 3 INTs; SU: 2 INTs, 1 FUMBLE), along with a combined 14 penalties for 76 yards (10 for 51 on FAMU; 4 for 35 on SU)…… Samford outgained the Rattlers in rushing (199-80), passing (142-139) and total yards (341-219)… Fabian Truss rushed for 115 yards on 28 carries and D’Morrise Bledsoe added 74 yards on nine carries for Samford…. Omari Albert (8 for 33) and Lemond Buice (9 for 29) led the FAMU ground game…. Summerlin was 19 of 29 for 142 yards and 1 TD, with 2 interceptions for SU, while FAMU’s Fleming was 11 of 19 for 139 yards and one score, suffering 3 interceptions… FAMU’s Lenworth Lennon led all receivers with 5 catches for 78 yards, while Samford’s Kelsey Pope was tops for the Bulldogs with 5 receptions for 28 yards…. LB Bobby Jackson led FAMU with 9 tackles (7 solos, 1 for loss), followed by LB Michael Ducre’s 9 tackles (4 solos, 1.5 tackles for loss)…. FS Cody Brooks topped the ‘Dogs defense with 8 tackles (4 solos) along with MLB Justin Shade’s 7 tackles (3 solos, 1.5 tackles for loss).
RATTLER TALK: After Saturday’s game, head coach Earl Holmes and a trio of Rattler players addressed the media regarding the Samford game…
@ COACH EARL HOLMES: “I really thought we had a good week of practice, and that we had solid game plans on both sides of the ball…. It is clear that we have a lot of work to do, especially on special teams, because it really hurt us today… We have to play 60 minutes of football, which is something I have been preaching… We did well enough on defense today to be in position to win at the end, which means we have to close out games… I told the guys at halftime that we gave them all their points with turnovers and penalties… We have a lot of work to do still, because in the end, the key is execution… Another key is we have to start fast on both sides of the ball, not allow allow ourselves to get behind… Four or five plays can make the difference in every game, so we have to start fast and play consistently….
@ QB DAMIEN FLEMING: “Some of the plays (interceptions) were either deflections or just a bad read and I didn’t see the safety…. We had a better game this week with play calling and communication, because last week (Quinn Gray’s hospitalization, missing the TSU game) caught us by surprise. But things were a lot better, we just have to execute, and make plays.”
@ DB TERRY JOHNSON: “ On my interception (28-yard TD return in 3rd quarter), I just read the pattern as it developed, and when the quarterback threw the ball, I just jumped the route….”
WHAT’S NEXT: FAMU (1-2) closes out their 2013 non-conference schedule at Columbus, Ohio against #4 ranked Ohio State University at 12 noon…. FAMU opens Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference play Saturday, Oc tober 5 at Morgan State (1:00), followed by an early evening bout (6:00) at Savannah State on October 12….. The next FAMU home game will be Saturday, October 19 when Howard University comes to Bragg Memorial Stadium for the 2013 H

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