Sunday, November 13, 2016

Stanley Rallies FAMU Rattlers Past Morgan State, 22-21

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Stanley fired two touchdown passes in a three-minute span late in the fourth quarter to help lift Florida A&M past Morgan State, 22-21 in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Bragg Stadium Saturday evening.

Stanley, the Pembroke Pines, Florida product who has led FAMU (4-6, 4-3 MEAC) to four wins in his six collegiate starts, got off to a slow start, as did the rest of the Rattler squad coming off a bye week, Nov. 5, but heated up in the final stanza when it counted, going 5-for-6 passing for 54 yards and two TDs, while rushing for 49 yards on five carries in the final period.

The redshirt freshman finished the game with 264 passing yards on 25 of 42 passes, with three touchdowns against one interception. He also rushed 15 times for 59 yards, giving him 323 total yards Saturday.

The sluggish Rattlers seemed out of sync until their backs were against the wall in the fourth, trailing a struggling Morgan State (2-7, 2-5 MEAC) squad, 21-9 headed into the fourth period.

FAMU made its’ move, aided by the Rattler Defense, which forced a turnover deep in Morgan territory, when Auburn transfer end Raashad Kennion shook the ball loose from Bear quarterback Chris Andrews on the MSU 23.

Four plays later, Stanley tossed an 11-yard strike to halfback Devin Bowers to cut the deficit to 21-16 with 8:55 left.

The Rattler Defense would force Morgan to punt after a stirring stand aided by a raucous Bragg Stadium crowd, whose noise levels caused a false start, and seemed to unnerve the Bears.

FAMU would take the lead with 5:40 left on Stanley’s third scoring toss, a two-yard aerial to Brandon Norwood, putting the Rattlers ahead for the first time in the game. Stanley was the key player on that five play, 57-yard drive, dashing 30 yards on a quarterback keeper down to the two-yard line, a daring move which nearly brought the house down.

The visiting Bears were forced to punt after their next possession, and the Rattlers ran out the clock to preserve the win, although the end of the game was marred by a brawl which took place with 39 seconds left.

Four players were ejected, including FAMU’s T.J. Jones, the starting left tackle, and reserve running back Kevin Newman, along with Morgan State linebacker Malachi Washington and defensive back William King.

Morgan used their special teams and defense to garner great field position and take the early lead, as William King returned th game’s opening kickoff 87 yards to the FAMU two yard line, from where Eric Harrell took the ball into the end zone for a two-yard score and a 7-0 lead with 14:45 left in the first period.

Stanley drove the Rattlers 80 yards in six plays capping things off with a 29-yard swing pass to speedy Devin Bowers, who raced through the Morgan defense for the touchdown. Colby Blanton’s PAT try failed, leaving the Rattlers down one.

With seconds remaining in the first, linebacker Jai Franklin sacked Stanley, forcing a fumble which Franklin took into the end zone for a 14-6 lead.

Blanton would nail a 19-yard field goal with 13:04 left in the second quarter to draw the Rattlers closer at 14-9, but Morgan QB Chris Andrews capped a five-play, 70-yard Bears drive with 1:58 left in the third to stake his club to a 21-9 advantage, setting the stage for FAMU’s fourth quarter awakening.

POST GAME NOTES: The Rattler Nation faithful turned out 16,879 strong to send off the 12 seniors and the Rattler Football team as a whole toward their final regular season game next Saturday in Orlando against archrival Bethune-Cookman… The two turnovers by Ryan Stanley (fumble, interception) were his first as a starter, as he came into Saturday with five straight starts without a turnover…. FAMU outgained the Bears offensively, 419 to 212, and had a huge edge in first downs, 24-11….

Devin Bowers led FAMU on the ground with 88 yards on 18 carries, while he caught three passes for 47 yards, and two TDs… Montavious Williams led the Rattlers with eight catches for 51 yards…. QB Chris Andrews led the Bears in rushing with 71 yards on 13 tries and a TD, while throwing for 58 yards on 7-of-16 passes…

Morgan’s kickoff return trio William King (1 for 87), Deadrick Jones (2 for 95, long of 76 yards), and Dushon David (2 for 18, long of 13), kept the Bears ahead of the game with great field position…. Jones led the Bears defensively with seven tackles (six solos), while linebacker Jakaris Wilson topped the Rattler tackle charts with seven tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss…. Both teams finished with four sacks, with FAMU’s Calvin Darville scoring a pair of quarterback takedowns.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The four FAMU wins is the most for the Rattlers since their 4-7 finish in 2012, and a win Saturday against Bethune-Cookman would push them to five victories, the most for the Rattlers since 2011 (7-4)…. It was FAMU’s fourth win in six games after an 0-4 start., and Saturday's win vaulted the Rattlers into fourth place in the MEAC at 4-3, behind North Carolina A&T and NCCU (both 7-0), and Hampton (5-2).

WHAT’S NEXT: The Rattlers close the 2016 regular season seeking to end a five-game losing slide in the Florida Blue Florida Classic to archrival Bethune-Cookman. The game will be televised by ESPN Classic and, starting at 2:30 p.m. from Camping World Stadium in Orlando.


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