TAMPA, Fla. (famuathletics.com) — Florida A&M football traveled down to Tampa, Florida for their only game versus an FBS opponent, the South Florida Bulls. The Rattlers were unable to capture their first win versus the Bulls as they fell 38-17.
"I thought these guys played with a lot of heart and a lot of fight," said head coach Willie Simmons. "I thought we did some really good things on both sides.
"We will watch the film and see how much better we can play."
The Florida A&M defense opened strong as Markquese Bell forces a fumble recovered by Derrick Mayweather on the game's opening drive as South Florida had driven the ball inside the Rattlers 10-yard line.
After a quick Rattlers' three-and-out, the Bulls offense was stopped but managed to make a 49-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead. Florida A&M responded with their own seven-play, 43-yard drive for Jose Romo-Martinez to make his own 49-yard field goal to tie the game at 3.
The Bulls' offense got hot and scored back-to-back touchdowns on an eight-play 75-yard drive and a ten-play 49-yard drive to extend their lead 17-3.
After both teams had three-and-outs, the Rattlers had a six-play 31-yard drive end with Jose Romo-Martinez's 45-yard field goal attempt coming up short bouncing off the crossbar.
Florida A&M's defense brought some heat the next drive as Markquese Bell sacked the Bulls' Timmy McClain for a nine-yard loss on third down to force a three and out.
The Rattlers had the ball for the final possession of the half and showed off their hurry-up offense abilities as they drove 39-yards in eight plays, including a 19-yard completion to Xavier Smith on 4th and 17. Romo-Martinez missed another 45-yard field goal as time expired.
Florida A&M opened the second half on offense and moved the ball 54-yards down to USF's 28-yard line before Xavier Smith dropped a 20-yard pass on 4th and 2.
After forcing a USF punt, the Rattlers struck with an eight-play 82-yard drive capped off with a beautiful 33-yard touchdown run by Terrell Jennings, bringing the Rattlers within 14 points.
The Bulls would respond with their own six-play 87-yard drive, which resulted in a third Jaren Mangham touchdown to extend their lead back to 21-points.
After forcing a Bulls three and out, the Rattlers turned the ball over on downs at their 14-yard line. The Bulls would take advantage of the short field position by scoring one more touchdown before the clock hit zero.
The Rattlers are off this week before returning to Bragg Memorial Stadium Saturday, October 2nd, for a game versus Alabama State.