FAMU Runs Past Howard
Florida A&M Runs by Howard in 30-17 Win
Tallahassee, FL-September 15, 2007---Florida A&M parlayed a power running game, some efficient third down conversions and a sack-happy defense into a 30-17 win over Howard University in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game at Bragg Stadium.
The Bison (0-2 overall, 0-2 in the MEAC) appeared to be in good shape when they took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in 8 plays, utilizing the running and passing of senior quarterback Brian Johnson, who capped off the drive with a 19-yard TD pass to senior wide receiver Jarahn Williams.
The Rattlers (1-2 overall, 1-1 in the MEAC), who were coming off a 20-7 home loss to Delaware State last week, appeared shaky early, misfiring on several pass attempts and committing drive-stalling penalties.
But FAMU finally got its composure and began to slowly take control of the game as running back Philip Sylvester found gaping holes in the middle of the Bison defense. The freshman tailback from Marianna, FL rushed for 198 of his 222 yards in the first half, including a back-breaking, 94-yard jaunt just before the half with his team clinging to a 14-10 lead. Sylvester's run came on a third-down and six with just 32 seconds left before the half, much to the chagrin of Howard head coach Carey Bailey.
"You just cannot come into an environment like this and give them something to feel good about," groaned Carey Bailey, who is in his first season. "It's something that has crippled this program for years. We're playing undisciplined football. We're not a smart football team right now."
With the Bison doing a better job of containing Sylvester in the second half, limiting him to only 24 net yards, so FAMU turned to Chester who used rollouts and the short passing game to control the clock and keep the Howard defense on the field for most of the third quarter. Chester's 35-yard TD pass to Adrian Smith and Wesley Taylor's 42-yard field goal expanded the lead to 30-10 and appeared to seal the deal early in the fourth quarter.
But Howard responded with a 6-play, 77-yard drive that was capped off with a second Johnson-to-Williams connection, this time from 3 yards out with 10:24 still left on the clock in the fourth quarter.
Inspired by the drive, the Howard special teams got the ball back for the offense when Maurice Cheeks forced a fumble that was recovered by Theodore Graham, IV on the ensuing kickoff. The Bison had the ball at the FAMU 20-yard with plenty of time left on the clock.
But the Rattler defense rose up again and sacked Johnson, putting Howard in a third-and-long. Red-shirt quarterback Floyd Haigler entered the game and was flushed out of the pocket. His pass attempt was intercepted and the game was all but over as the Rattlers ran out the clock.
Johnson, who accounted for 323 yards in the opener against Hampton was hounded by the Rattler defense which sacked him five time times. He managed to complete 12 of 16 passes but for only 126 yards and 21 net yards rushing yards.
"They have tremendous team speed," noted Bailey, referring to the Rattlers. "They are probably the fastest team in the MEAC. They just ran by our guys."
Added Johnson, "It seemed like their game plan was basically to contain me. They took away some things we like to do. We just have to do a better job of blocking and executing next week."
GAME NOTES: Jarahn Williams continues to show that he is all the way back from a year and a half layoff with injuries...the Miami, FL native caught 5 passes for 72 yards and now has three TDs in two games...senior kick return specialist Leonard was one of the bright spots for the Bison, returning 4 kicks for an average of almost 30 yards...sophomore placekicker John Mendoza nailed a 44-yard field goal, the longest of his career...red-shirt junior linebacker Endor Cooper had another fine day with 13 tackles, 3.5 for losses...senior LB Robert Dowdy also continues to play at an all-conference level as he finished with 11 total tackles, 2 resulting in losses...Howard converted on only 2 of 11 third down conversions...the interception was the Bison's first turnover of the season...FAMU gouged the Bison defense for 301 yards rushing for a whopping average of over 6 yards per carry...Chester, the pre-season All-MEAC selection, was very efficient, completing 15 of 24 for 180 yards, 2 TDs, no interceptions and no sacks...he also added 47 yards rushing for good measure.
NEXT UP: Howard travels outside conference play next week to take on Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti, MI at 3 pm...EMU (1-2) won its first game of the season against Northern Illinois on Saturday.