Florida A&M on the business end of a 59-3 defeat to #17 JSU in Orange Blossom Classic

Published: Sep. 4, 2022 at 10:21 PM EDT
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (WCTV) - What began as a day with a lot of hype and excitement for the Orange Blossom Classic quickly turned for the worse at Hard Rock Stadium. #17 Jackson State dominating FAMU in Miami Gardens by a final of 59-3. The Rattlers simply didn’t seem to have it Sunday afternoon, while Shedeur Sanders and the Tigers were ready from the word go.

No doubt a lot of excitement around this Florida A&M Football team as they got Isaiah Land, BJ Bohler, and Cam Covin back for this game, but the Tigers weren’t messing around.

It started early as Sanders hit Shane Hooks for a four yard touchdown connection with just over eight minutes to go in the first quarter. That would put JSU on top 7-0 after a 12 play, 69 yard touchdown drive. Sanders was 6-6 for 40 yards on that drive.

FAMU was in this ball game, but they just couldn’t get their offense going. Sanders and the Tiger offense on the other hand looked virtually unstoppable.

With 11 minutes to go in the second quarter, JSU struck again with an eight yard touchdown connection from Sanders to Dallas Daniels to go on top 14-0.

The points kept on coming. Sanders would go on to hit Rico Powers for a 29 yard touchdown strike with just over nine minutes to go in the first half. Sanders at one point in this game was 17-17. JSU then led 21-0.

After the Tigers tacked on a field goal to make it 24-0, the Rattlers showed some life. Jeremy Moussa hit Darian Oxendine for a 33 yard pickup to put FAMU in business. However, the Rattlers were only able to come away with a field goal just before the half. Jose Romo-Martinez knocked in a 43 yard field goal to make the halftime score 24-3 in favor of Jackson State.

Things went from bad to worse in the second half for FAMU. Sanders would connect with Hooks for the second time this game for a 10 yard touchdown putting JSU on top 31-3.

Just 30 seconds later, Jeremy Moussa was intercepted by JSU’s Ke’Vric Wiggins which was returned for a 35 yard touchdown. That made it 38-3 JSU.

Just before the fourth quarter began, Sanders would throw for his career-high setting fifth touchdown to Hayden Hagler. A two yard score that made it 45-3 in favor of the Tigers.

Rasean McKay checked in at quarterback for the Rattlers to start the fourth quarter. With 11 minutes to go in the ball game, McKay was strip sacked as JSU’s Aubrey Miller Jr. returned it 19 yards for another touchdown.

JSU was finally done with the scoring on the day when a punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown by Herman Smith III making it 59-3.

It’s FAMU Football’s worst loss since 2006 when they lost to Hampton 59-7.

Head Coach Willie Simmons knows this isn’t what this football team is about and shoulders all the responsibility.

“This loss falls squarely on my shoulders. This is by far my worst coaching job as a head football coach. Today’s game wasn’t indicative of the type of football team that we have,” Simmons said, “Tip my hat to Jackson State. They’re a really good football team. They have really good players, and they made the plays that needed to be made. We didn’t. In football, if you don’t prepare, you get embarrassed and today was an embarrassing day for all of us. We have a lot of things to fix. In all three phases we played poorly. As coaches, it’s our job to fix it. We’ll do that. I believe in this coaching staff, I believe in these young men, and Rattler Nation won’t ever see our football team play this poorly again.”

A tough loss and performance any way you slice it for FAMU in this one. Four turnovers, two of which returned for touchdowns and no answer for this Tigers offense.

Shedeur Sanders threw more touchdowns than he had incompletions. He ended 29-33, 323 yards, and throwing five touchdowns, while the Rattlers had just 155 yards of total offense.

FAMU drops to 0-2 and will be back in action Saturday, September 10th at home against Division 2 Albany State.