FAMU defense has its day in the sun with big showing shutting down Trojans in the second half

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 5, 1999

Sports Editor

After playing the Florida A&M most teams remember the high-powered offense of FAMU, Troy State just wishes they could keep from remembering the defense that bit them Saturday.

Going into the second round of the Division I-AA playoffs, the Rattlers, on average gave up 318.6 yards per game. A fact that looked to work in favor of the Trojan offense. Most of the attention all week by the media and fans had been focused on the matchup between a stingy TSU defense and FAMU head coach Billy Joe’s "Gulf Coast" offense. What they got was a display on defense by the Rattlers that won the game and sent them to the semifinals.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

"They’re a good defensive football team that’s all you can say," TSU head coach Larry Blakeney said. "I would say their offense kind of overshadows them because it’s so prolific. Basically the majority of the ink goes to the offense, but the defense is pretty fierce."

The Rattlers defense held the Trojans to only 190 yards of total offense on the day and held the Trojans to only three first downs in the second half. After their first possession, which Troy State took 63 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown, FAMU simply shut down any offensive production the Trojans might have depended on in the past.

The main focus of the Florida A&M defense was getting to TSU quarterback Brock Nutter. After the game, Joe talked about his defense finding a way to pressure Nutter and keep him from being affective.

"We thought that if we could get in Brock Nutters’ face we didn’t think that he could hurt us scrambling," Joe said. "If we got back there we felt we had a good chance to get him. He doesn’t have great escape ability as a quarterback, but if we let him just sit and plant his foot and throw, we felt he could have eat us alive and tear us apart."

"In the second half I felt like there were times when their rush was good, but I didn’t do a very good job of finding somebody or maybe throwing it out of bounds," Nutter said. "I was my worst enemy today as far as trying to make things happen. They just did a great job of coming after me. In the two games that we lost this year, when they pin their ears back and come at us we have had trouble."

Nutter was sacked four times on the day, twice in probably the most important defensive stand of the game towards the end of the half.

Down 17-10 and looking for a touchdown to tie the game, Troy State defensive back Chris Archie came down with a big interception at midfield giving the offense a chance late in the fourth quarter. A pumped-up FAMU defensive line got to Nutter twice in the backfield for two big losses then TSU elected to run a draw play which failed to pick up enough yards for the first.

"They were tough and we got pressured," Blakeney said. "I know with Brock and the competitive spirit that he has, when things aren’t going all that well it’s not any fun. It was pretty tough for him. We had our opportunities and we couldn’t quite get it done. Their defense played very well, well enough to win, but our offense just couldn’t muster enough yardage, points or conversions to win against a good defensive football team."

"Our defensive line is a great line," Joe said. "We have speed, size, strength and we have quality depth that we can run in and out and keep them fresh. We are relentless when it comes to the pass rush. We try to get to the quarterback."