After a slow start by both teams, the Rattlers (2-1 overall, 2-0 in the MEAC) set the tone on their first score. Curtis Holcomb intercepted a Casey Council pass and set up the first score. It took FAMU two plays to go 37 yards with Lavante Page scoring from three yards out near the end of the first quarter.
After the Bison failed to score on their first possession of the second quarter, the Rattlers struck with a big play as Martin Ukpai (9 of 17, 188 yards; 8 rushes, 69 yards) connected with Eddie Rocker on a 78-yard bomb that upped the margin to 14-0 at the 14:26 mark.
Howard responded on its next possession by going 79 yards in six plays, with Justin Duncan highlighting the drive with a 59-yard jaunt that set up his two-yard plunge that got the Bison to 14-7 at the 11:36 mark.
The Rattlers struck again on Howard's next possession when cornerback Qier Hall returned a Bison fumble 30 yards to up the score to 21-7 at the 8:43 mark.
FAMU tacked on another score when it blocked the first of two Howard punts. Page scored his second TD of the game, this time from four yards to give the visitors a 27-7 lead at the half.
"Things really spiraled out on control for us when they got the blocked punt," said Howard Coach Carey Bailey. "We are not good enough to make a mistake and let a team get up on us that big."
FAMU controlled the game offensively, defensively and special teams in the second half. The Rattlers took the opening second half kickoff and marched 63 yards in 11 plays with Rocker bolting in from four yards to make it, 33-7.
Utilizing the accurate passing and timely runs of Ukpai, FAMU marched 78 yards in eight plays, with Rocker adding his third TD of the day on an 18-yard run.
The Rattlers would tack on a 47-yard field goal by Trevor Scott and a TD by Mike Ducree who recovered a blocked punt in the end zone to close out the scoring.
"All three phases were a disaster today," said Coach Bailey. "We didn't play well on offense defense or special teams."
One of the bright spots for Howard on offense was the play of freshman running back Justin Duncan, who led all rushers with a career- and game-high 102 yards and his first career TD. Defensively, Howard got an outstanding performance from red-shirt sophomore linebacker Keith Pough (11 tackles, 2 sacks, 4.5 tackles for losses), sophomore linebacker Kurt Magum, II (8 tackles) and red-shirt senior linebacker Jermell Ellis (4 tackles, an interception, a blocked kick).
NEXT UP: Florida A&M travels to Atlanta, GA to take on the Tigers of Tennessee State next Saturday in the Bank of America Classic at 4 pm in the Georgia Dome. The Bison will be looking to get in the win column when they take on the Bears of Morgan State next Saturday at 3:30 pm in the New York Urban League Classic at the new Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.