Late score lifts FAMU over S.C. State 42-38

From Florida A&M Sports Information:

 Ryan Stanley set another record and threw for a career-high 427 yards, including a 19-yard strike to Kamari Young with 1:08 left as the Florida A&M University football team snapped a 14-game losing streak with a 42-38 victory over South Carolina State in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) on Saturday afternoon at Oliver C. Dawson Bulldog Stadium.

The Rattlers (5-1 overall, 3-0 MEAC), who are off to the best start since the 2000 season, last defeated South Carolina State in 2011, but due to NCAA sanctions, that victory was vacated. The last time FAMU picked up a win over the Bulldogs was in 2001.

It took a defensive stop on fourth down to give the Rattlers good field position for their third drive of the afternoon. 

Stanley finished off the 12-play, 64-yard drive with a short toss to the left side to Xavier Smith to give Florida A&M a 7-0 advantage with exactly four minutes remaining in the opening period.

The Florida A&M defense continued to show its toughness late in the first quarter as Terry Jefferson forced a fumble as Demontre Moore recovered the ball at the SCSU 40.

However, South Carolina State (3-2, 1-1) tied the game at 7 with 14:01 left in the first half when Stanley tried to make something out of nothing and BJ Davis picked off the senior quarterback and rumbled 88 yards for the score.

The Bulldogs grabbed their first lead of the day with 7:32 remaining.

Khaliq Anthony blocked a FAMU punt and Jaydon Brunson went eight yards into the endzone to give South Carolina State a 14-7 advantage.

The Rattlers answered the blocked punt with 69-yard, 10-play drive as Terrell Jennings scored on a 3-yard run, tying the game at 14 with just over four minutes left in the first half.

After forcing a South Carolina State punt, Florida A&M marched 68 yards in just four plays, taking 1:18 off the clock, as Xavier Smith caught a 24-yard pass from Stanley, giving the Rattlers a 21-14 lead with 12:30 remaining in the third.

Florida A&M extended the lead to 28-14 as Stanley connected with Azende Rey for a 63-yard gain. Two plays after the huge pick up, Jennings scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 7:43 left in the third. 

South Carolina State was able to move the football on its next drive, but had to settle for a 34-yard field goal by Dillon Bredsen to cut the deficit to 28-17 with 3:29 remaining in the period. 

A Derrick Mayweather interception set the Rattlers up at the Bulldog 45. FAMU drove to the SCSU 21, but Stanley’s pass in the endzone was picked off by Jalen Barr.

South Carolina State wasted little time cashing in the turnover as the Bulldogs marched 80 yards in four plays as De’Montrez Burroughs caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Corey Fields to cut the margin to 28-24 with 10:15remaining.

The Rattlers answered the Bulldog scoring strike as Bishop Bonnett scored on an 18-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 35-24 with a little less than five minutes left.

The Bulldogs quickly answered as Fields connected with Shaqaun Davis for a 21-yard touchdown to trim the deficit to 35-30 with 3:42remaining. The 2-point conversion attempt failed as Markquese Bell intercepted fields in the endzone, meaning South Carolina State would have to score a touchdown to win the game.

South Carolina State grabbed a 38-35 advantage after Deondre Daniels recovered a blocked punt in the endzone with 2:18 left.

That set the stage for the Rattlers to complete the rally.

South Carolina State’s kickoff rolled out of bounds and FAMU set up shop at the 50-yardline. 

Davonne Kendrick rushed 11 yards and two yards on the drive. After an incomplete pass to Xavier Smith, Stanley connected with Davonne Kendrick for 18 yards. On the very next play, Kamari Young caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Stanley to give FAMU a 42-38 lead with 1:08 left.

The defense was up to the task on the final drive and forced a turnover on downs to give FAMU the win.

Turning Point
In a game where there were several turning points, it all came down to the final drive.

The Rattlers fell behind 14-7, but reeled off 21 unanswered points to grab a 28-14 lead. 

However, Florida A&M nearly fell victim to not just one blocked punt, but two on the afternoon. 

But in the end, it was the game-winning drive the helped the Rattlers end a 14-game losing streak to South Carolina State.

The Rattlers began the drive at the 50 and faced a 3rd-and 8 from the SCSU 37. Stanley connected with Davonne Kendrick for 18 yards. On the very next play, Kamari Young caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Stanley to give FAMU a 42-38 lead with 1:08 left.

The Bulldogs got the ball at their own 25, but the Rattler defense was up to the challenge as Corey Fields threw three straight incomplete passes as South Carolina State turned the ball over on downs, which gave FAMU the win.

Inside the Numbers
> Florida A&M finished 27 first downs and 505 total yards of offense

> The Rattlers held the ball of 36:57 

> Bishop Bonnett led the ground game with 37 yards on 20 carries, along with one score

> Ryan Stanley went 30 of 49 passing for 427 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions

> David Manigo recorded a team-high 11 catches for 136 yards

> Xavier Smith caught eight passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns

> Chris Faddoul punted the ball five times for 234 yards, averaging 46.8 yards per punt, with a long of 52 yards

> Markquese Bell registered nine tackles

> Elijah Richardson tallied seven unassisted tackles

> South Carolina State finished with 19 first downs and 348 total yards

> The Bulldogs held the ball for 22:21

> Tyrece Nick, the MEAC Offensive Player of the Week, led SCSU on the ground with 62 yards on 15 touches

> Tyrece Nick went 6 of 17 passing for 107 yards and one interception

> Corey Fields came off the bench and went 9 for 13 passing, with two touchdowns and one interception

> Will Vereen registered five catches for 78 yards

> Cornelius Walker recorded nine tackles, including seven solo stops

News & Notes
> This was the 58th meeting between Florida A&M and South Carolina State

> The Rattlers improved to 30-25-2 all-time against the Bulldogs

> The FAMU victory snapped a 14-game losing streak to South Carolina State, which dated back to the 2001 season

> The 2011 Florida A&M victory against SCSU was vacated by the NCAA

> Xavier Smith now has now gone over 100 yards receiving in three out of the last four games  

> Eric Smith was ejected with 12:15 left in the third quarter due to targeting. He will miss the entire first half of next Saturday’s game against North Carolina A&T State

> Terrell Jennings has been vital in the run game. He has scored four touchdowns this season – all four coming on the road

> FAMU has won the last four games by a total of 19 points, and all four games were one-score contests

> For the fifth straight game, FAMU held a team under 100 yards rushing

> Ryan Stanley continues to build on the all-time FAMU completions record with 646

> Ryan Stanley needs four more touchdowns (54) to surpass Quinn Gray’s mark of 57

> Ryan Stanley is slowly approaching another Quinn Gray record as he needs 49 passing attempts to become the school’s all-time leader

> Ryan Stanley broke Quinn Gray’s career passing mark of 7,378 yards in the first quarter and now has 7,779 career passing yards

> Ryan Stanley was named the BOXTOROW National Player of the Week on Monday

> Florida A&M head coach Willie Simmons celebrated his 39th birthday on Saturday

> Willie Simmons picked up his first victory over South Carolina State and his first win in the state of South Carolina

> South Carolina State head coach Buddy Pough tied the school’s all-time career win total of 128 last week and will have to wait another week to surpass Willie Jeffries record

Up Next 
Florida A&M returns home on Saturday, Oct. 19 to face off against North Carolina A&T State. Kickoff against the Aggies at Bragg Memorial Stadium is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be streamed live on ESPN3.

Last season, the Rattlers edged the Aggies, 22-21, at BB&T Stadium in Greensboro, N.C. 

North Carolina A&T State, which are the defending Black College Football National Champions, are ranked No. 13 in the STATS FCS Top 25 and No. 14 in the FCS Coaches Poll. The Aggies were off this week.

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