Florida Memorial had its best showing of the season Saturday and nearly toppled No. 6 Keiser
MIAMI – Sophomore quarterback Antoine Williams set a new modern-era program record for most touchdown runs in a single game with his three scoring scampers; Florida Memorial University set a new modern-era record for points scored in a single game; and the Lions had the ball, trailing by five with less than a minute, with the chance to upset No. 6 Keiser University before having their rally hopes dashed by a turnover in the waning seconds and ultimately falling 31-26 Saturday afternoon at Nathaniel “Traz” Powell Stadium.
Florida Memorial started what it hoped would be its game-winning drive with 1:14 to play at its own 16-yard line. With Williams out of the game due to an injury, the Lions’ final offensive drive had to be quarterbacked by freshman Alexander Law. FMU moved the ball down to the Keiser 47-yard line after a defensive pass interference and a couple of runs by George Young and Corey Stanley and called a timeout with 30 seconds remaining.
After an incomplete pass, Law tried to make a throw downfield but had the errant pass picked off by a Seahawks defender at the KU 24-yard line – allowing Keiser to take a knee and edge out the Lions by the final five-point margin.
Prior to leaving the game, Williams had one of his most productive days leading FMU’s offense. The 6-foot-3, Delray Beach, Florida native completed 12 of 29 passes for 188 yards and rushed for a career-high 44 yards to go along with the record-setting three scores.
Young led Florida Memorial (0-6, 0-2 Mid-South Conference Sun Division) in rushing yards with 85 on a team-high 18 carries. Christian Edgerson finished with a team-high 52 rushing yards on a pair of receptions while Calvin Clark and Young each caught three passes for 39 and 31 yards respectively.
Despite the outcome, the Lions did show the nearly 600 fans in attendance and the rest of the Mid-South Conference Sun Division that it’s not the same team that lost to Keiser a year ago. The last time Florida Memorial stepped on the field with the Seahawks, it was playing its first game after a 62-year hiatus and came into the matchup having had no spring practices and just a couple of weeks of practices during the fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lions took a roster made up almost entirely of freshmen to West Palm Beach and was handed what is still its largest margin of defeat in a single game.
Saturday’s game showed the development of the program under head coach Tim “Ice” Harris Sr. and his coaching staff, as the Lions even held multiple leads over the No. 6-ranked team.
Keiser (3-1, 1-0) got on the board first with a 39-yard field goal, but the Lions took their first lead of the day when Terry Smith stepped in front of a Jack Strouse pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown – the first pick-six in Florida Memorial University modern-era football history.
FMU, which will host conference foe Warner University this coming Saturday (Oct. 9), took the lead again during the second quarter, going on a 10-play, 71-yard drive that Williams capped with a 1-yard plunge – his first touchdown run of the day – to put the Lions up 14-10 with just over five minutes left in the first half.
The Seahawks swung the momentum back in its favor with a 63-yard touchdown pass right before halftime – to take a 17-14 lead – and opened the third quarter with a 10-play, 95-yard touchdown drive that put FMU into a 24-14 hole.
Florida Memorial had to play catch-up the rest of the second half, cutting into the deficit twice thanks to Williams touchdown runs – a 3-yard run that capped a 63-yard drive and a 25-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter that brought the Lions within 31-26 with 12:57 left in the game.
Keiser did outgain FMU 455 to 354 Saturday, due in large part to the 230 rushing yards the Seahawks received from Marques Burgess.
The Lions defense did force two turnovers, getting an interception from Kareem Roberts in addition to the Smith pick-six. Linebacker Joshua Mimms finished with a game-high 11 total tackles (8 solo) along with 2.5 tackles-for-loss. Darius Conley and Philman Roundtree each registered sacks, Denorio Humes and Allen Lee both finished with 6 tackles while defensive back Jamari Goodgame had 5 total tackles, including 2.5 tackles-for-loss.