Florida A&M kicks off MEAC play against Norfolk State

From Florida A&M Sports Information:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | The Florida A&M University football team will look to keep the momentum going on Saturday as the Rattlers enter Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) play at Norfolk State. Kickoff against the Spartans is set for 4 p.m. at William “Dick” Price Stadium.

The game will be broadcasted and streamed live on ESPN3. The broadcast crew of Ross Gordon (play-by-play) and Woube Gebre (color analyst) will call all of the action. In addition, the broadcast team of Keith Miles and Albert Chester will call the game live on WHBX – 96.1 FM (JAMZ).

The Rattlers (2-1) enter the contest off an emotional 27-21 victory over non-conference rival Southern. Florida A&M exploded for 17 first-quarter points and watched Southern rally to grab a 21-19 lead just seven seconds into the final quarter. But it would Ryan Stanley and the FAMU offense that would prove to be the difference as the senior redshirt quarterback guided the Rattlers on a 9-play, 97-yard drive, capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Smith to give Florida A&M the 27-21 lead. Stanley finished the night with a career-high 355 yards and touchdowns, while Smith caught nine passes for 201 yards. In addition, Markquese Bell recorded three tackles and had a pair of interceptions. The Rattler defense held Southern to 256 total yards, including just 69 yards on the ground.

Norfolk State (1-3) comes into the matchup off a 56-21 loss at No. 8 Montana State last Saturday. The Spartans got a 6-yard touchdown pass from Juwan Carter to Anthony Williams midway through the opening quarter, but Montana State struck for two scores and led 14-7 after one quarter. The Bobcats led 28-14 at the half and held NSU to just one score in the second half as Montana State picked up its third victory over the season. Norfolk State amassed 351 total yards, including 243 through the air.

“Last week’s win was definitely a great victory in a tremendous environment, one of the best I’ve seen and it was great for our guys to persevere and come through with the victory,” Florida A&M head coach Willie Simmons said. “We stayed true to our motto and celebrated for 24 hours. We came back on Sunday dialed in and ready to go and prepare for Norfolk State. We start conference play this week and like I said the other day, ‘2-1 is a great record to have, but right now 0-0 is the record that matters’ – just because we are in MEAC play right now.

“We’re on the road, which is always tough to win on the road in this conference, but to win a conference championship, you have to learn to win on the road. It will be a tough task for us this week, but I know these guys will be looking forward to the challenge. We put together a great week of preparation and we will load the plane headed for Norfolk, Virginia with 60 guys and get ready to play a Norfolk State that’s getting better every single day, every single year. I expect a hard-fought football game and look forward to our guys going up there and trying to get our first conference win.”

About The Game
> This will be just the 18th meeting between Florida A&M and Norfolk State

> The Rattlers won the 2018 matchup, 17-0, at Bragg Memorial Stadium

> Florida A&M leads the all-time series, 12-3, as two additional wins were vacated due to NCAA sanctions

> FAMU is 7-3 against NSU over the last 10 games, and holds a 7-1 record against the Spartans in Norfolk, Va.

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

> The Rattlers went from receiving votes to No. 6 in the BOXTOROW Coaches Poll

> Norfolk State enters the matchup unranked in all polls

> The Spartans are unranked in the latest BOXTOROW Coaches Poll
 About Florida A&M
> The Rattlers enter the matchup off an emotional come-from-behind 27-21 victory over Southern

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

> FAMU held the Jaguars to just 69 yards rushing and over the last two games, the Rattler defense has given up just 27 yards per game

> The attendance last weekend at Bragg Memorial Stadium was announced as 27,191, which was the largest non-homecoming attended game in school history

> Willie Simmons is just one victory shy of 30 for his collegiate coaching career

About Norfolk State
> The Spartans are coming off a 56-21 setback last weekend to No. 8 Montana State

> MSU led 28-14 at the break and added 28 more points in the second half

> Nhyre’ Quinerly registered a career-high 16 tackles in the loss

> Kevin Johnson scored a school-record 86-yard touchdown run against Montana State

> The Spartans finished with 15 first downs and 351 total yards against MSU

> Juwan Carter went 21 of 32 passing for 243 yards and two scores

Last Time Against Norfolk State
> The Rattlers started slow at home against the Spartans and scored 14 fourth-quarter points to blank NSU, 17-0

> A Yahia Aly 22-yard field goal midway through the second quarter gave FAMU a 3-0 lead

> The score remained 3-0 until the final quarter when Chad Hunter caught a 13-yard pass from Ryan Stanley and Bishop Bonnett scored on a 14-yard touchdown run, which gave Florida A&M a 17-0 advantage

> The Rattlers finished with 17 first downs and 240 total yards

> Norfolk State registered 15 first downs and out-gained FAMU by 51 yards to finish with 291 total yards

> Spartans quarterback Juwan Carter went 17 of 34 passing for 212 yards, but was intercepted three times

> The shutout victory marked the first time FAMU had blanked an opponent since a 43-0 victory over Howard in 2000

Ryan Stanley quarterback records

> The senior quarterback set the school career completions mark against Southern with 567, surpassing Quinn Gray’s marck of 562

> Stanley needs 14 more touchdowns to tie Gray’s mark of 57

> The Pembroke Pines, Fla. native is only 625 career yards behind Gray’s marck of 7,378. He could vault into second place with 202 yards against Norfolk State on Saturday

> In addition, Stanley needs 166 passing attempts to surpass Gray’s record

Weekly Accolades
> Quarterback Ryan Stanley and punter Chris Faddoul picked up MEAC weekly honors. Stanley was named the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week, while Faddoul was selected the MEAC Special Teams Player of the Week

> Xavier Smith also earned a weekly honor as the redshirt sophomore wide receiver was tabbed STATS FCS National Player of the Week Honorable Mention

> Elijah Richardson was named a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy, announced by the National Football Foundation, on Wednesday

Inside The Numbers
> Xavier Smith’s 201 receiving yards against Southern marked him as only the fourth player in school history to go over the 200-yard plateau. He joined Jacquay Nunnally (289 vs. NCA&T, 1997), Charlie Allen (262 vs. Norfolk State, 2002) and Cainon Lamb (207 vs. Southern, 1998) as the only Rattler pass catchers to go over 200 yards

> Florida A&M ranks tops in the conference in scoring offense (28.0 ppg), pass offense (289.3 ypg), total offense (370.3 ypg), 3rd-down converstions (45.3 percent), time of possession (33:27 mpg), punting (41.0 ypg) and sacks (3.33 spg)

> The Rattlers are second in turnover margin (+3) and third in rush defense (130.7 ypg)

> Ryan Stanley leads the conference in passing at 227.3 yards per game and total offense at 221.3 yards per game

> Chris Faddoul leads the MEAC in punting at 47.1 yards and has seven kicks of 50-yards or more

> Outside of the Central Florida game, the Rattlers have given up just 27.0 yards over the past two games on the ground

> Florida A&M is averaging 28.0 points through three games, while surrendering 34.3 points

> Norfolk State is averaging 23.3 points and giving up 36.8 points

Up Next 
After Saturday’s road trip to Norfolk State, Florida A&M returns home on Saturday, Oct. 5 with a homecoming matchup against North Carolina Central. Kickoff against the Eagles is set for 2 p.m. from Bragg Memorial Stadium and the game can be viewed live on ESPN3. 

The Rattlers won the 2018 contest in Durham, N.C., 55-14.

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