FAMU hits the road to take on Morgan State

From Florida A&M Sports Information:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | The Florida A&M University football team will look to extend its six-game winning streak on Saturday afternoonagainst Morgan State in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) game. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. from Hughes Stadium in Baltimore, Md.

The game will be broadcasted and streamed live on ESPN3 as the crew of Phil Shoener (play-by-play) and Emory Hunt (color) will call all the action. The broadcast crew of Keith Miles (play-by-play) and Albert Chester (color analyst) will call the game live on WHBX – 96.1 FM (JAMZ).

The Rattlers (6-1 overall, 4-0 MEAC) survived back-to-back tough contests with a pair of wins. Florida A&M visited South Carolina State on Oct. 12 and walked away from Orangeburg, S.C. with a 42-38 win, which snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. One week later and an extra day of rest thanks to Tropical Storm Nestor, FAMU defeated previously 10th-ranked North Carolina A&T State, 34-31 in overtime, at Bragg Memorial Stadium. That victory catapulted the Rattlers into the rankings as Florida A&M is 20th in the STATS FCS Top 25 and 23 in the FCS Coaches Poll.

Morgan State (1-6, 1-3) enters the matchup off a 24-10 road loss to South Carolina State. The Bears’ ground game was held to minus-five rushing yards and the quarterbacks were sacked seven times. DeAndre Harris, who went 13 of 26 passing for 140 yards and one interception against SCSU, has thrown five touchdowns, but has tossed seven interceptions. Manasseh Bailey has caught 29 passes for 534 yards and all five touchdown passes from Harris. The Bears are averaging 16.7 points per game and 294.0 yards per game.

“The reality of this game and every game is that it is a trap game,” Florida A&M head coach Willie Simmons said. “We have a goal in mind and to finish the season as the best team in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Every team that stands in our way is a trap and is trying to take that away from us. We will approach this game no differently than we approach any other game, and that means us preparing to go play our best.

“It means focusing on the little things, blocking out the outside noise, whatever form that might come in, and us controlling what we can control, continuing to be exactly where our feet our and that’s the approach we’ve always taken, that’s the approach we are going to take this week and we feel like with that approach, that eliminates the highs and lows that sometimes associate football teams. We always want to be a team that’s even keel in our approach. I don’t even believe playing up to a competition or playing down to a competition. Every team we play, it’s our job to bring our very best, and if we focus on that, and do that, I think we give ourselves a great chance to go to Morgan State and come away with the victory.”

About The Game
> This will be the 32nd meeting between Florida A&M and Morgan State

> The Rattlers jumped out big during the 2018 meeting and defeated the Bears, 38-3

> Florida A&M leads the all-time series, 20-8, as three FAMU victories were vacated due to NCAA sanctions

> Each team has won five games in the series over the last 10 games

Inside the Rankings
> Florida A&M is ranked No. 20 in the STATS FCS Top 25 and No. 23 in the FCS Coaches Poll

> The Rattlers hold the top spot in the SBN Black College Football Poll and BOXTOROW Coaches Poll

> Morgan State is unranked in the STATS FCS Top 25, FCS Coaches Poll, SBN Black College Football Poll and BOXTOROW Coaches Poll
About Florida A&M
> The Rattlers enter the matchup off a thrilling 34-31 overtime victory over previously 10th-ranked North Carolina A&T State

> With the win, FAMU picked up its second consecutive win over the Aggies

> Florida A&M opened the season with a loss at #17 UCF, but have since reeled off six straight wins

> Despite the win, FAMU’s streak of holding an opponent under 100 yards rushing was snapped against the Aggies

> Not counting Fort Valley State, Florida A&M’s average margin of victory this season is 2.6 points and have won the last five games by a touchdown or less 

About Morgan  State 
> The Bears are coming off a 24-10 loss on the road to South Carolina State last week

> Morgan State jumped out to a 3-0 lead after a Nicholas O’Shea 39-yard field goal, but the Bulldogs scored 24 unanswered points to cruise to the win

> Backup quarterback DeAndre Harris went 13 of 26 passing for 140 yards and an interception. Meanwhile, DJ Golatt threw for 127 yards, with one touchdown and one interception

> MSU’s ground game was held to minus-five rushing yards and the quarterbacks were sacked seven times

Last Time Against Morgan State
> The Rattlers exploded out of the gate and led 31-0 at the half before pulling away for a 38-3 victory at Bragg Memorial Stadium

> Florida A&M racked up 390 total yards of offense, including 216 on the ground

> Deshawn Smith finished with 116 yards on 14 touches to pace the ground game

> Ryan Stanley threw three touchdown passes to three different receivers – Chad Hunter, Xavier Smith and Marcus Williams

> The Rattler defense held MSU to just under 300 total yards

> Elijah Richardson paced the defense with 10 tackles and registered a pair of quarterback hurries

Ryan Stanley quarterback records

> The senior quarterback continues to build on the all-time FAMU completions record with 660

> Stanley is the FAMU record holder in career passing yards and is just one yard shy of 8,000

> The Pembroke Pines, Fla. native is just two touchdown passes away from Gray’s mark of 57

> In addition, Stanley needs 25 passing attempts to surpass Gray’s record

Weekly Accolades
> Punter Chris Faddoul picked up his second MEAC Special Teams Player of the Week accolade

Inside The Numbers

> Florida A&M ranks tops in the conference in pass offense, pass efficiency, PAT kicking, punting, sacks against, kickoff coverage and third-down conversions, while second in time of possession, kickoff returns, interceptions, first downs, scoring offense and total offense

> The Rattlers rank fourth in the FCS in sacks allowed, sixth in fumbles lost, 10th in third-down conversion percentage, 10th in passing offense, 10th in time of possession and 10th in turnover margin

> Markquese Bell is 11th in the FCS in passes defended

> Chris Faddoul ranks second in the FCS in punting at 46.9 yards per punt

> Ryan Stanley ranks 16th in the nation in passing yards per game and 19th in total offense

> Xavier Smith ranks 10th in the FCS in receptions per game and 12th in receiving yards per game

> Outside of the Central Florida game, the Rattlers have given up just 88.1 yards over the past six games on the ground

> Florida A&M is averaging 31.6 points, while surrendering 31.7 points

> Morgan State is averaging 16.1 points and giving up 35.1 points

Up Next 
After Saturday’s matchup against Morgan State, the Rattlers play host to Delaware State on Nov. 2and wrap up its home campaign on Nov. 16against Howard. Kickoff against Delaware State is set for 4 p.m. from Bragg Memorial Stadium and the game will be streamed live on ESPN3.

The last time these two teams met was in 2016, but the 41-27 Florida A&M win was vacated due to NCAA sanctions.

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