Loss to Central leaves Rattlers frustrated


North Carolina Central’s defensive front gang tackles FAMU’s running back Devin Bowers, holding him to short yardage.
Photo courtesy FAMU athletics


By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer

More than 18,000 fans had already seen the reason for FAMU quarterback Ryan Stanley’s frustration before he expressed himself about 20 minutes after the Rattlers fell 21-14 to North Carolina Central.

“Offense didn’t execute,” said Stanley, following the disappointing showing in the nationally televised game last Thursday night. “We played great defense and we didn’t come through.”

Only in the season-opening win over Texas Southern was the Rattlers defense more dominating this season. They held the Eagles to 241 yards of total offense.
As it turned out, though, the Eagles defense was just as stout and held FAMU with 258 yards of offense. But the defensive standoff didn’t begin in earnest until the after the Rattlers rallied with two touchdowns in the second quarter tie the game at 14 by halftime.

But as well as the defense played, there were many lost opportunities by the offense. Even with a little help from the Eagles. NCCU fumbled once and were flagged three straight times in the third quarter.

FAMU defense made its biggest statement of the night with 6:59 left in the second quarter, forcing a fumble by Eagles quarterback Chauncey Caldwell at Central’s 3. On the ensuing FAMU possession, running back Devin Bowers took a direct snap and found Kevin Newkirk in the end zone.

Central had opportunities on their first two possessions of the third quarter, but between a fumble and penalties, they were stuck on their side of the field for most of the 15 minutes.

Linebacker Jakaris Wilson summed up the Rattlers’ problem best, as they  let what would have been a signature win over the defending conference champion slip away.

“It’s extremely frustrating when you give your all for something and come up short,” Wilson said. “We have to get back in the lab. Watch more film, work hard in practice.”

The Rattlers compounded their problems in the second half with five penalties and finished the game with eight that total 52 lost yards.

“It was a tough loss,” said coach Alex Wood. “Our kids played hard (but) we made too many mistakes and too many stalled drives. We gave great effort in some things but in some other things we didn’t do well.”