Florida A&M finally got off the schnide this season, getting a hard-fought win against SIAC champion Albany State ,23-13.
Albany State got right to work on their first drive and proceeded to march 81-yards in 12 plays over 5:53, getting into the endzone via a 7-yard run from Marcuis Fulks to take a 7-0 lead.
On their next offensive possession, the Rattlers were putting together a drive that was on the verge of entering scoring position however that was brought to a screeching halt when Jeremy Moussa was intercepted in the endzone by Tavian Mayo.
FAMU tied the game at 7 early in second quarter, finishing a 13-play, 85 yard drive when De’Andre Francis punched it in from 1-yard away. After the rattles forced a three-and-out on the Golden Rams next possession, the FAMU offense went right back to work, traveling 43 yards in 7 plays and taking a 10-7 lead on Jose Romo-Martinez’s 29-yard boot through the uprights.
After starting their subsequent offensive possession with a 12-yard pass from Dionte Bonneau to Ralph Lovett III, the Golden Rams next sets of downs netted them zero yards forcing them to punt. Once FAMU got the football back sit took them a mere 5 plays to go 70 yards, reaching the end zone on an 8-yard scoring pass from Moussa to Xavier Smith to push the snakes’ lead to 17-7.
FAMU tacked on two more field goals in the third quarter, a 24-yarder that came at the end of a 14-play drive ; the second one from 31 yards out, came following a Kamari Stephens interception of a Bonneau pass, giving the Rattlers a 23-7 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.
Albany State would finally find the end zone again, scoring, with 0:18 left in the contest when Fulks ran in from 1-yard out. The two-point conversion failed, leaving the score at 23-13.
After the victory, Florida A&M head coach Willie Sinmmons had this to say:
Excited to get a win, obviously we didn’t play our best ball, but it feels good to get in the win column,” said head coach Willie Simmons. “It’s good to continue our home winning streak, one of the longest in the nation, so that’s been our goal, so we wanted to keep that intact.
“Defensively, I thought we played really good football. We gave up a couple of plays early and obviously the late touchdown. Overall I thought those guys competed hard and played at a high level. Offensively, we left a lot to be desired. We definitely need to play better across the board. Up front, we need to fix some things as far as communications. At quarterback, we need to be much more consistent in throwing the ball. Out wide, Xavier Smith made a ton of plays, but outside of him, I was disappointed in the playmaker abilities of our wideouts.”
Albany State head coach Gabe Giardina was pleased with his team’s effort as well as the atmosphere at Bragg:
What an environment first of all. It’s a great place to play. The electric crowd was awesome. Just being out there from pregame til the end of the game was a really neat environment. We had a great start and got a stop and went down and scored and had it moving there for about six minutes then they did a good job of settling in and I think defensively, I was really proud of our defense. I thought the guys really tackled so much better than they did last week,
Albany State will look to return to its winning ways when they head to Rome, GA next week to take in Shorter University; kickoff time is set for noon EST. FAMU has a bye before entering SWAC play against AAMU at home on September 24 with a 6pm EST kickoff.