FAMU team shows great discipline in loss to BCU 18-17
FAMU defender Romari Chisholm (#91) trips up BCU QB Q. Williams (#3) from behind.
FAMU QB Damien Flemming leaps over the BCU defensive line to score FAMU’s first touchdown to tie the score at 7-7 in the third quarter.
By Richard Alexander Moore
In what was perhaps one of the most exciting games played in this series in years, Rattler fans saw a team they had not seen all year play Bethune Cookman to a virtual defensive battle that took them to overtime. Both teams played well, but for FAMU it was somewhat monumental in that the team only had two penalties for a total of 5 yards. They gave themselves a chance to win this time.
FAMU showed more discipline than they have for many years. One fan even went so far as to say somewhere beyond the Billy Joe days. He could not put a finger on it, but he said, “I am an Earl Holmes supporter, but this team showed me a lot yesterday,” James Simmons went on to say, perhaps we should allow Cory Fuller a chance to audition next year and see what we get with a cheap one year contract.
FAMU and BCU played to a 0-0 tie through 1:16 of the third quarter when BCU’s Michael Jones was able to finally punch a score in from the 9-yard line. Many thought the rout would be on at that point, but FAMU came right back with a 12 play, 77 yard drive down the field that tied the score when QB Damien Fleming capped the drive with a 2 yard run followed by a Chase Varnadore extra point.
The next series saw BCU go 3 and out and FAMU took possession at the FAMU 30 yard line. The Rattlers inept offense could only make it to the BCU 41 yard line this time in spite of being so hyped on the field. But then, on the ensuing punt, return man Frank Brown fumbled the punt and FAMU’s Tyler Riley pounced on it at the BCU 7 yard line to give FAMU a big boost. But bad play calling once again staved off a FAMU touchdown and the Rattlers had to settle for a field goal to take their first lead in the game at 10-7.
The final drive of regulation gave the Wildcats 3:41 to score or go home as they have many times in the past, defeated. But as has been the case in recent FAMU history, it was the other way around. BCU drove the ball to the FAMU 16 and kicked a field goal of their own to tie the score and send the game to overtime.
Prior to the overtime, FAMU had great field position after the score and kickoff with a great return by Javarri Johnson’s 33-yard return to the FAMU 46. But Damien Fleming proceeded to do what has plagued the Rattlers many times this season as he threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage to end FAMU’s hopes of getting in field goal range and give Chase Varnadore a chance to win it for FAMU in overtime.
In overtime, Florida A&M wasted no time scoring after winning the toss. On the 5th play of overtime, Damien Fleming found Kareem Smith in the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown and Chase Varnadore kick was good to put FAMU up and in position to win.
Bethune Cookman’s final possession started off with FAMU’s Trevor Bone tackling Michel Jones for a loss of 2 yards. From there it got ugly. FAMU held the BCU offense in check denying two consecutive pass attempts. With 4th down and 12 to go, it was looking good. In the post game press conference, it was said by coach Fuller, “One kid played cover two and everyone else played man. It was a bad call. I just don’t feel like in that situation I should have over-ruled the call and played zone and just knock the ball down.” That al-lowed BCU’s Jhomo Gordon to pick up the the first down and more. It was a 26-yard pick up and took the ball to the FAMU 1-yard line. It looked as if FAMU would put together another strong goal line stand as they did on a second quarter drive in the game when they stuffed BCU’s offense with a first and goal from the FAMU 3 yard line and denied them admission to the end zone four straight times. But it was not to be BCU was able to score and quickly assemble to go for the 2-point conversion and the win as FAMU only had 10 men on the field to defend the try and BCU walked away with an 18-17 victory.