Saturday, September 3, 2016

FAMU Football Preview: At Miami Hurricanes

Florida A&M vs University of Miami
Saturday, Sept. 3, 6:00 p.m. ET
Hard Rock Stadium (70,000),Miami Gardens, FL
TV: ESPN3. Announcers will be Joel Meyers (PxP) and Rene Ingoglia (Analyst)

RADIO: WHBX-FM 96.1 JAMZ, is the flagship station for the Rattler Radio Network. The Alex Wood Pregame Show will air 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Joshua Jackson (By-Play), Michael Thomas (Expert Analyst) will describe the action.

COACHES’ SHOW: The Alex Wood Show, a 30-minute recap of the week’s action, hosted by Elton Gumbel, will air statewide in Florida on FOX SPORTS ONE (Thursdays at 4:30 p.m.), and on FOX49 in Tallahassee (Thursdays), at 11 p.m.

Miami leads the all-time serieswith Florida A&M, 9-1-0, with a 41-7 over the Rattlers in their last
meeting in 2014... FAMU’s lone win came in 1979, 16-13.

* FAMU’s Alex Wood (Iowa, 1978) is in his 2nd season at FAMU... He has a 26-34 career record as a head coach at James Madison (23-22), Buffalo (2-2) and FAMU (1-10).

*Miami’s Mark Richt (Miami, 1982) is in his 1st year at his alma mater, coming from Georgia, where he was 145-51 in 15 years.

Record... 1-10, 1-7 MEAC
Ntl Rank ..............None
Pts/Game ........... 14.6
Pts Allowed/PG ... 33.5
Rush Yds/Gm .....76.6
Pass Yds/Gm ..... 184.8
Total Off/Gm ......261.5
Total Def/Gm .....469.4

Record... 8-5, 5-3 ACC
Ntl Rank ..............None
Pts/Game ........... 28.9
Pts Allowed/PG ... 28.8
Rush Yds/Gm ....119.5
Pass Yds/Gm .....281.9
Total Off/Gm .....401.4
Total Def/Gm .....407.2

Devin Bowers, RB
82/430 yds, 2 TD, 47.8 ypg

Kenneth Coleman, QB
61/123, 607 yds, 3TD, 4iNT

Brandon Norwood, WR
49 c/442 yds, 2 TD, 40.2 pg

Jacques Bryant, DB
52 Tackles (34 solo), INT

Joe Yearby, RB
205/1002 yds, 6 TDs, 78.2 ypg

Brad Kaaya, QB
238/389, 3238 yds, 16 TDs

Stacy Coley, WR
47c, 689 yds, 4 TDs, 14.7 avg

Jermaine Grace, LB
76 Tcks (42 solo), 6 TFL/2 Sks

Rattler Football Turns 109: The FAMU Football Program marks its’ 109th season of varsity play (dating back to 1906) this fall, and the Rattlers’ 560-plus all-time wins place them in the Top 25 in NCAA Division I FCS in both overall wins and winning percentage…. FAMU has 12 national titles and 36 conference pennants to its’ credit since winning its’ first league football crown in 1937…. The program, which won the first-ever NCAA FCS national title in 1978, has won five playoff games all-time, the most of any FCS HBCU.

Year Six In FAMU History: 2016 marks several anniversary milestones in FAMU Athletics and the university at-large… This Fall marks the 70th anniversary of the world famous “Marching 100” Band, founded in 1946 by the late, legendary Dr. Patrick Foster….

On the weekend of September 23-24, FAMU celebrates the 40th Anniversary of its’ Sports Hall of Fame, whose 1976 inaugural class featured the likes of tennis pioneer Althea Gibson, NFL Hall of Fame WR Bob Hayes, College Football Hall of Fame RB Willie Galimore, College Hall of Fame coach Jake Gaither, and Bill Lucas, the first African American major league team executive/general manager….

Speaking of Althea Gibson, it was in 1956 that she won her first major tennis title at the Australian Open…. Twenty years ago (1996), the College Football Hall of Fame inducted its’ first-ever class of small college players, a group which included three-time Rattler All-American guard Tyrone McGriff…

In 1936 (80 years ago), FAMU hired Ohio State All-American guard Bill Bell as its’ head football coach. He would partner two years later with a young coach, Jake Gaither to bring FAMU its’ first national title in 1938. The duo would combine to bring three national titles (1938, 1940, 1942) to FAMU, before Gaither would take the reins in 1945, bringing home six (6) more national crowns…

Rugged Schedule Ahead For FAMU: With FAMU’s storied history has come the proverbial bull’s eye on their backs, as each week, the Rattler gridders have had to take the “A” game of their opponents who sought to get their licks in on the Men of Orange and Green…
   The past four years have been especially tough on the Rattlers, who have won just 11 games during that span, including a one-win campaign a year ago….
   Along with the zeal that opponents bring to every game comes the degree of difficulty of the FAMU schedules year in and year out….
   2016 will be no different as the Rattlers open the season against FBS Miami, followed by a pair of 2015 playoff teams, Coastal Carolina and Tuskegee, both of which advanced to the national quarterfinals as at-large teams….
     The Rattlers open MEAC play against league king pin South Carolina State, which has won 12 of the last 13 games in the series, followed by Savannah State, which will likely be aiming for a repeat of their 37-27 upset of FAMU a year ago…
    The MEAC schedule for FAMU will be daunting all around, as they will face all five of the clubs which tied for the league title in 2014 – S.C. State, NCCU, Morgan State, North Carolina A&T and Bethune-Cookman… The B-CU ‘Cats have especially enjoyed the recent reversal of fortunes on the gridiron against their in-state rivals, having won five straight against FAMU….

Pro Rattler Notes: Six Rattlers are either in NFL Training Camps or on active Canadian League Football Rosters as of this writing…. LBs Brandon Hepburn (Dallas) and Akil Blount (Miami) are vying for spots on the 53-man rosters of their respective NFL clubs. along with wide receiver Brian Tyms (Indianapolis), while North of the Border, the trio of WR Kevin Elliott (Toronto), DL Padric Scott (Winnepeg) and DB John Ojo (Edmonton).

Homecoming for 20 Something Rattlers: Long known as a hotbed for high school talent, Miami and the South Florida area are well represented on the 2016 FAMU Football team... Over a dozen players are of the first year variety as Coach Alex Wood and his staff begin the long rebuilding or rebooting process.... In addition to the young guns, FAMU has several starters from the South Florida area, including senior guard Keonte Cash, center/guard Osman Aguilera, defensive end Calvin Darville, and budding redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Stanley

FAMU, UM crossing paths: The FAMU-UM series has always had a bit of a different flavor than most FBS-FCS matchups.... Before AppState escaped the Big House in AnnArbor with their signature upset over Michigan  in the late 1990s, FAMU’s 16-13 win over the ‘Canes at FSU’s .Doak Campbell Stadium in 1979 was one of the earliest (if not the earliest) upset.... New UM head coach Mark Richt was a freshman on that 1979 Miami team....FAMU coach Alex Wood worked a four-year stint at UM (1989-92) as Receivers coach during which the ‘Canes won national titles in 1989 and 1992.... Current UM Receivers coach Ron Dugans is no stranger to FAMU, as he played his high school ball at FAMU High School, which played its’ home games at FAMU’s Bragg Stadium... Dugans was one of the first FAMU High players to play across town at Florida State... Current Rattler tight ends coach Stephen Field was a member of the UM defensive staff from 2006 to 2008. He also served as head coach at area prep power Miami Northwestern High School (2011-14)....

PRIDE IS AT STAKE IN 2016: The proud FAMU Football Program has endured four (4) straight losing seasons, something which had not happened since the program’s early days in the 1920s... With the excellent recruiting class landed by Coach Wood and his staff last winter now in hand, coupled with their first class of recruits from 2015, expectations of improved play are driving the players and coaches this offeseason.... One factor lighting a bit of a fire under the Rattlers is the fan support they received in 2015 during a tumultous 1-10 season... FAMU finished #11 in Division I FCS in home attendance, averaging over 13,000 fans per home game, including crowds of better than 18,000 for their home opener after an 0-3 start, and 23,000 for Homecoming.

THE CITY OF MIAMI AND FAMU: The Rattlers and the City of Miami have a long-standing relationship dating back to the 1940s, when the fabled Orange Blossom Classic was transplanted into the venerable Orange Bowl Stadium in 1947.... Over the next three decades, the OBC became the true forerunner of the modern day Black College Football Classics, often doubling as the de facto HBCU championship game... Thanks to the massive numbers of FAMU alumni in Dade and Broward counties, FAMU games must see events, especially during the OBC’s heyday in the 1950s and 60s, when HBCU powerhouses like Grambling, Tennessee State, Jackson State, Alcorn and Morgan State dueled with Jake Gaither’s vaunted Rattlers... In 1983, the Pro Football Hall of Fame honored the Classic during its’ 50th anniversary for its’ role in showcasing Black College talent for professional scouts. Numerous players signed pro contracts following those games.

SNAKEBITES: FAMU head coach Alex Wood will be a media star of sorts prior to Saturday’s game as he will tape a “throw back to the studio” spot for The Weather Channel to air during their Saturday coverage.... Fox Sports NFL Sideline veteran Pam Oliver (a FAMU Track All-America in the 1980s) wil be inducted along the members of the 1984 All-America 4x400 relay into the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame on Sept. 23.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Rattlers continue their comeback tour next week against aspiring FBS transitioner Coastal Carolina (7:00 p.m.). 


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