Fans and alumni from both Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University flocked to the city of Orlando this past weekend for the annual neutral-site matchup of bitter in-state rivals on the gridiron, in the Florida Blue Florida Classic at Camping World Stadium.
With an average of 60,000 spectators per game, the Florida Classic has now blossomed into the nation’s largest football game between two Historically Black College/University schools. This year wasn’t too far off that average, as this year’s game attendance reached 56,227.
The Rattlers (9-1) came into this year’s game against the Wildcats (3-7) looking to extend their series win streak to 3 games and also gain momentum going into a home Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship game on December 2.
The Rattlers looked to be firing on all cylinders to start the game. After going three and out on the opening drive of the game, they recovered a Wildcat fumble on the Wildcat 22-yard line. Florida A&M capitalized on the turnover and scored a rushing touchdown to take the lead 7-0. Another rushing touchdown and field goal in the second quarter extended the lead to 17-0 going into halftime.
The second half started out as a back and forth defensive battle until the Wildcats scored a rushing touchdown on a quarterback keeper with just under two minutes left in the third quarter making the score 17-7.
FAMU gained their third rushing touchdown of the game, midway through the fourth, stretching their lead back to 24-7.
The Rattlers seemed to have put it in neutral the rest of the game, as they had control of the game throughout its entirety and cruised to victory with 24-7 win over the Wildcats and will end their regular season with a 10-1 record. Florida A&M will have this week off, and will use it to prepare for their upcoming SWAC Championship game on December 2 at 4 p.m. on Ken Riley Field at Bragg Memorial Stadium. The Rattlers will face a familiar foe in the Southwestern Athletic Confe renceChampionship Game, as they will have a rematch with this year’s homecoming opponent, the Panthers of Prairie View A&M. The Rattlers destroyed the Panthers 45-7 in that game and hope to stay focused and repeat the same type of performance.
Chris Daniels – Gadsden County News Service