Stanley rallies Rattlers past Morgan, 22-21
[subtitle] Fight mars one-point win for FAMU [/subtitle]
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Quarterback Ryan Stanley walked out of the FAMU locker room after halftime with a sense of urgency, following a first-half performance that wasn’t close to what he’d promised to deliver to his senior teammates in their final game at Bragg Stadium.
Stanley was sacked once and he threw his first interception since becoming starter for the Rattlers. But he took a methodical second-half approach to rallying FAMU past Morgan State 22-21 in front a crowd of 16,879 this past Saturday.
The win gives FAMU momentum going into the season finale against Bethune-Cookman in the Florida Classic on Saturday in Orlando. A win would give the Rattlers (4-6, 4-3) five victories for the first time since 2011.
Stanley threw two touchdown passes during a three-minute span in one of the biggest rallies by the Rattlers this season.
“I just wanted to put the game in my hand because I had two key turnovers in the first half,” Stanley said. “I felt if we lost the game it would be all on me so I just had to do something.”
The night just didn’t end the way Stanley nor his teammates wanted it to, though. With FAMU in possession of the ball with 39 seconds left, Stanley was about to take a knee to close it out when punches began to fly between players on both teams.
After order was restored, four players were ejected from the game and will likely be penalized by the Mid-Eastern Athletic League. Kevin Newman and T.J. Jones of Morgan and Liam King and Michael Washington of FAMU will likely have to sit out their final game of the season this weekend.
Stanley said he wasn’t expecting the brawl to break out, as he was attempting to run out the final seconds on the clock.
“I was standing back there and the defense hit me,” Stanley said. “Like any team would do, they (his teammates) stood up for their quarterback.”
Instead of letting the Rattlers replay the victory formation, game officials decide to call it off.
“It’s unfortunate that that happened,” coach Alex Wood said. “We’ll address that with our team. It’s not the way we wanted to end the game.”
The Rattlers started the rally after Auburn transfer Raashad Kennion jolted the ball from Bears quarterback Chris Andrews, causing a fumble that was recovered by the Rattlers. Three plays later, Devin Bowers came out of the backfield to catch a 22-yard pass from Stanley to cut the deficit 21-16.
With 7:45 left in the game, Stanley went to work again from Morgan’s 43. Stanley completed a second longest pass of the afternoon when he found Brandon Norwood for 27 yards that set FAMU up at the Bears’ 23.
Three plays later, Stanley hooked up with Norwood again from 2 yards out for the final score.
“It was great to overcome adversity,” Stanley said. “This team has gone through a lot so it just feels good to overcome adversity and come together as a team.”