Florida Aamp;M knocks

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 5, 1999

Troy State out of the playoffs


Sports Editor

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For the second straight season the Troy State Trojans were knocked out of the Division I-AA playoffs by the Florida A&M Rattlers.

In a 17-10 win by the Rattlers (10-3) that turned into a surprisingly defensive affair, FAMU rolled up 430 yards of total offense while holding the Trojans (11-2) to only 190 total yards. With the win Florida A&M will travel to Youngstown, Ohio where they will face the No. 9 seeded Youngstown State Penguins in the semifinals for a chance to play for the Division I-AA Championship.

The Rattlers used their quick-striking no-huddle style offense to dial up two long-distance touchdown passes and stood behind a swarming defense that kept TSU off balance the entire game. A disappointed Troy State head coach Larry Blakeney felt that it wasn’t so much the style that hurt his team, but the players who executed a great game-plan against his Trojans.

"I don’t think the no-huddle had that much to do with them winning the game," Blakeney said. "I think the players that executed the no-huddle and the players that executed their defense is what made the difference."

Both teams looked ready to put some big numbers on the board early with Troy State putting it’s only touchdown on the board on their first possession. TSU went 63 yards in 10-plays to score on an Al Lucas run from 2-yards out. The scoring drive was set up by a big defensive stop by Troy State on the Rattler’s first possession, but that trend ended quickly.

It took FAMU just three plays to tie things up after getting the ball back. Starting quarterback JaJuan Seider found a wide-open Demetr Bendross on a 77 yard pass down the right sideline to knot the score at 7-7.

After that, both teams couldn’t seem to find any offense. FAMU head coach Billy Joe felt that the his team had to hang in there and wait for their moment to shine.

"Offensively we weren’t executing at all," Joe said. "We had everyone making mistakes and just couldn’t seem to put everything together as well in the first half. We knew, however, that in the second half that things couldn’t continue to go wrong. The ball couldn’t continue to bounce the wrong way. We were going to get some breaks in the second half and as soon as we came out the ball began to bounce our way."

The first bounce was a small one, with FAMU taking advantage of a TSU fumble at their own 24-yard line, but the second bounce came on their next possession and it was a back-breaker for the Trojans.

Replacement quarterback Quinn Gray, in for a cramping Seider, again found a streaking Bendross for his second long-range touchdown catch of the day, this time for 57 yards. The TD gave the Rattlers a comfortable two-score lead at 10 points and left Troy State scratching their heads trying to figure out the FAMU defense.

"Anytime you get up like that, a 10-point lead, as little as we were generating offensively that bothered me," Blakeney said. "I was concerned knowing that they have such huge strike power with their scheme. We kept them at bay with the punter really. I would say that that was the key moment in the game, though, the long ball.

"I thought our guys played well against them," he added. "We rotated a lot and played a lot of people. For the most part, with the exception of the two big plays we stopped them."

Troy State place kicker Lawrence Tynes got the Trojans’ only other points with a 29-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.