FAMU Fans Standing by Their Team in Spite of Defeat
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook Staff Writer
It was still early in the first quarter Saturday night, when FAMU football fans started reacting to what turned out to be yet another defeat for the Rattlers.
Social media was the platform. Facebook, Twittter and Instagram all lit up with comments.
Some laid out their disappointment over the fact that the Rattlers were about to lose to Savannah State, a team that has never beaten their Rattlers.
Other folks were downright disrespectful. Then, there were those who simply prayed.
Yes, it got to that before FAMU finally fell 37-27 for their fifth straight loss to start a second consecutive season.
Former FAMU quarterback Quinn Gray was profound in his call on a higher power to help his team. They were down by only 10 points with more than three full quarters to play.
But Gray, who just a year ago was an assistant coach for the Rattlers, prayed anyway.
“God I know I come to you all the time in prayer saying thank you for all you’ve done in my life,” Gray wrote on Facebook. “But God I have to come to you right now asking that you please, please, please don’t let us lose to Savannah State tonight.
“As your son I will never ask for victory in competition but I have to beg for your mercy on this one on our University’s birthday!”
Gosh, yes. Saturday marked a birthday anniversary for FAMU.
See, that’s the thing about football. It tends to affect everything about a university.
In FAMU’s case, the poor Academic Progress Report that the NCAA handed down on several sports, is almost like a death penalty for the Rattlers.
Loss of practice time always plays into a losing season. On top of that, the Rattlers are going through a season that started with the loss of their strength and conditioning coach Russell Barbarino.
There is still some trickle down affect from the firing of Earl Holmes during homecoming week last season. Then, there is a new athletic director and a new coach.
Both have a lot to fix. Milton Overton has the challenge of getting the athletic department out of a financial crunch.
The task might even be tougher for first-year coach Alex Wood. Recruiting the talent he needs won’t be easy on the heels of what seemingly will be a third straight losing season for the Rattlers.
Losing to lowly Savannah State sure didn’t help.
The game got away early. After scoring a 22-yard field goal, the Tigers relied on their back-up quarterback Arshon Spaulding to put on an offensive display that FAMU didn’t respond to until the final half of the game.
It was too late. At least for a team that hasn’t shown it could handle adversity too well.
But at least it seems FAMU fans can find humor in all of this without degrading their team.
Just see what Dreezy Daniel posted on Facebook the day after the game.
“As I sat in church today, I thought about last night’s game, and I realized that FAMUans are good people,” she wrote. “We are so good that we showed Savannah State mercy and ended their streak as the losingest team in college football.”
“We decided to do community service last night. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.”
She seems like a believer, if not fictitious.
Let’s hope that the faithful won’t give up. Another crowd of 18,000 or more for the second home game this weekend would be a good sign.