After 45 minutes of football, it was not looking good for Florida A&M, but after the final 15 minutes, it was great for the Rattlers as they completed a 12-point fourth-quarter comeback to win their first road game of the season 35-31 at Alabama A&M.
“We’re excited about today’s game,” said head coach Willie Simmons. “We didn’t play our best by any stretch of the imagination, but at halftime, I challenged the team and asked, ‘what type of team will we show that we are?’
“I thought they showed great character and our resilience. Offensively, we were able to get things going after a slow start, and defensively, we stood up when we needed to.”
The Rattlers could not have asked for a better start after scoring on the opening drive. Rasean McKay opened the game up with a 9-yard completion to David Manigo and completed another 8-yard pass to Manigo a couple of plays later.
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Chad Hunter then caught an 18-yard pass to set the Rattlers up at the Bulldogs 19-yard line, in which McKay connected with a wide-open Bishop Bonnett in the endzone for the opening drive touchdown.
After being one of the best teams in the nation taking care of the ball, the Rattlers suffered from two critical turnovers. The first turnover came in the second on a fourth and one attempt, in which Bonnett lost the ball, and the Bulldogs scooped and scored from 79-yards. McKay looked for Xavier Smith in the third quarter, and Smith made a diving attempt to see the ball bounce into the defender’s arms for an interception. The Bulldogs turned that into a 4-play 50-yard drive resulting in a touchdown.
The Rattlers entered the fourth quarter down 28-16, but in scoring position and the first play of the fourth, the Rattlers scored off a fantastic touchdown reception from Chad Hunter in his first game back from injury.
On the next drive, Savion Williams breaks through the line and sacks Aqeel Glass to put the Bulldogs in second and long. The Rattlers completed the three and out before having their own offensive three and out. The Bulldogs start the next drive with 11:31 on the clock and takes more than 5:37 off the clock on a ten-play, 57-yard drive that ended in a 38-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a 31-23 lead.
McKay and the Rattlers’ offense responded with three plays of ten-plus yards that capped off with a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jah’Marae Sheread. The Rattlers celebrated a bit too much, having a 15-yard unsportsmanlike called to make their two-point attempt difficult, in which McKay was sacked.
Down 31-29, the Rattlers needed the defense to make another stop and forced their seventh three out. McKay handed off to Bishop Bonnett on the next play, and Bonnett sprinted 80-yards for the game-winning touchdown. The Rattlers failed on the two-point attempt giving the Rattlers a 35-31 lead.
The Bulldogs had one more opportunity to retake the lead but failed as Javan Morgan got his second interception to extend the Rattlers defensive turnovers streak to 15 straight games.
Courtesy: Florida A&M Athletics
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