FAMU kicks off home season in Jake Gaither Classic

From Florida A&M Sports Information:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | The Florida A&M University football team will look to get into the win column on Saturday night as the Rattlers will have its 2019 home opener against Fort Valley State. Kickoff for the Third Annual Jake Gaither Classic is set for 6 p.m. at Bragg Memorial Stadium. 

Florida A&M (0-1) had an extra week to prepare for Fort Valley State with a bye last week. The Rattlers enter Saturday’s game off a 62-0 loss on Aug. 29 to 17th-ranked Central Florida. FAMU held the Knights to just 14 second-half points. FAMU will look to get the offense going after gaining 96 yards against the tough UCF defense. In addition, the Rattler defense will look to regroup after playing the heavily-favored FBS team.

Fort Valley State (0-1) also will enter Saturday’s tilt off a loss. The Wildcats opened the season last weekend and fell to Miles College, 38-17. FVSU and Miles entered the final quarter tied at 17, but the Wildcats surrendered 21 fourth-quarter points to drop the season opener. Fort Valley State finished with 17 first downs and registered 268 total yards of offense. However, it was the ground game that was held in check as Miles limited FVSU to just 12 rushing yards.

“I thought last week was very productive for us,” FAMU head football coach Willie Simmons said. “Anytime you have a bye week this early in the season, you have to be great in how you plan and prepare for the rest of the season. We felt that it was best that we get back to our base fundamentals after having our one game and the outcome that we wouldn’t have wanted. But I thought it was a very productive week for us and it gave us a chance to really fine-tune some things that will bold well for us moving forward the rest of the season.

“This week we open our home slate with the first of six games here at Bragg Memorial Stadium against a Fort Valley State team that we’re no strangers to. It’s the 12th meeting between these two schools. We know it will be an electric environment and looking forward to a packed house. Hopefully our guys can put the work that we’ve put in over the past two weeks to use on Saturday and if they do that, I think we will have a strong showing and get this home slate going the right way and get into the win column.”

About The Game
> This will be just the 12th meeting between Florida A&M and Fort Valley State

> In fact, this will be just the third meeting since 2010

> The Rattlers won the last meeting (2018), 41-7

> The Wildcats lone win in the series came in 1984, a 19-14 victory over FAMU

> The 2019 FAMU Sports Hall of Fame Class will be recognized during the game

> In addition to the hall of fame class, Florida A&M is also hosting an Alumni Sports Reunion

> The Clear Bag Policy will be in effect and all outside containers (drinks, cups and food) will not be allow inside Bragg Memorial Stadium

Inside the Rankings
> Florida A&M is unranked in the STATS FCS Top 25 and FCS Coaches Poll

> The Rattlers are receiving votes in the BOXTOROW Coaches Poll

> Fort Valley State enters the matchup unranked in all polls
About Florida A&M
> The Rattlers have had an extra week off to prepare for Fort Valley State

> Florida A&M is coming off a 62-0 loss to 17th-ranked Central Florida on Aug. 29

> FAMU held the Knights to just two second-half touchdowns in the loss

> Willie Simmons is just three victories shy of 30 for his collegiate coaching career

About Fort Valley State 
> The Wildcats opened their season last weekend with a 38-17 loss at home to Miles College

>  Fort Valley State and Miles entered the final quarter tied at 17, before MC scored 21 fourth-quarter points

> FVSU was held to 268 total yards, with 256 coming through the air

> Wildcat quarterback Slade Jarman threw for 256 yards on 27 of 44 passing, along with one touchdown and one interception against Miles

Last Time Against Fort Valley State
> The Rattlers led 20-7 at the break and pulled away in the second half for the 41-7 victory.

> Florida A&M finished with 22 first downs and 407 total yards of offense

> The FAMU defense held FVSU to minus 12 yards rushing and picked forced two turnovers

> Bishop Bonnett registered eight rushes for 79 yards, averaging 9.9 yards per carry.

> Ryan Stanley was 11 of 20 passing for 115 yards and two scores

> Azende Rey led eight receivers with three catches for 25 yards

> Fort Valley State registered 13 first downs

> Slade Jarman finished with 303 passing yards, with one touchdown, but was sacked five times

Inside The Numbers
> Florida A&M quarterback Ryan Stanley is approaching a major statistically milestone in the FAMU record books. The redshirt senior needs just 1,300 yards this season to become the all-time career passing leader. Stanley enters the season currently in fifth place and will need 498 yards to surpass Tony Ezell for fourth place

> Punter Chris Faddoul set a pair of records in the UCF game on Aug. 29. The junior set the school mark for punts in a game (11) and yards (533).

> In addition to the records, Faddoul received national attention as he was selected a STATS FCS Honorable Mention as a specialist

> The loss to Central Florida was the first season-opening loss since the 2016 season when FAMU fell to Miami, 70-3.

> The shutout loss was the first for Florida A&M since a 33-0 defeat to Hampton on Nov. 7, 2015, a span of 1,390 days

Up Next 
After the matchup with the Wildcats on Saturday, Florida A&M will wrap up the two-game homestand on Saturday, Sept. 21 as Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) foe Southern comes to town. The Rattlers and Jaguars last met in 12 with Southern claiming the 21-14 victory. This will be the 61st meeting between the two schools, with Florida A&M holding a 33-26-1 record.

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