TALLAHASSEE, FL - The Florida A&M Department of Athletics announced its 2012 football schedule with the Rattler gridders heading to Music City USA to face the Tennessee State Tigers in the "Big" John Merritt Classic, then traveling west to face the Oklahoma Sooners of the Big 12 Conference.
Head Coach Joe Taylor and the Rattlers aim to improve on its 7-4 record last season and compete for the MEAC crown. With a core of returnees and a host of promising newcomers, the Rattlers start off the season with a visit to Nashville, Tenn. on Sept. 1, to face the "Big Blue" Tigers of Tennessee State. The match-up will be the first for the Rattlers and Tigers since the 2010 Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic.
The Rattlers and Tigers had previously mixed it up in the Atlanta Football Classic for 13 straight years before the "100 Black Men of Atlanta" brought in the Jaguars of Southern University as the Rattlers' opponents last season. TSU defeated FAMU 29-18 in their last meeting in 2010. Prior to that, the Rattlers had won eight consecutive Atlanta Football Classics over the Tigers. TSU is banking on a strong recruiting class from head coach Rod Reed to strengthen its team for the upcoming season.
On Sept. 8, the Rattlers visit the Sooners of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. The Rattlers will face one of the favorites in the Big 12 Conference on their home turf.
On Sept. 15, the Rattlers will return home to the friendly confines of Bragg Memorial Stadium to face the Pirates of Hampton University. The Rattlers would like to get revenge on the Pirates for a tough 23-17 loss in Hampton, Va. last season.
Sept. 22 finds the Rattlers in Dover, Del., to face the Hornets of Delaware State University. Head Coach Kermit Blount looks to improve on the Hornets' 3-8 record in his inaugural season. Last season, the Rattlers bested the Hornets 34-7 at Bragg Stadium.
The Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic, which takes place annually on the final weekend of September, will take place on Sept. 29 in the Georgia Dome. This will mark the second consecutive year the Rattlers will face the Jaguars of Southern University in the classic. Last season, FAMU freshman quarterback Damien Fleming led the Rattlers to three second half scores to defeat the Jaguars 38-33. Jaguars head coach Stump Mitchell will look to exert revenge on the Rattlers, especially since they were interested in Fleming as well.
On Oct. 6, the Rattlers will visit the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., for a MEAC matchup with the resurgent Howard Bison. Last season, the Bison pulled an improbable comeback to defeat the Rattlers on homecoming. The 29-28 upset catapulted the Bison into the spotlight, finishing with a record of 5-6. They capped their wins last season with a 10-7 win over Hampton in the battle of the HUs.
On Oct.13, the Rattlers will celebrate Homecoming against the Savannah State Tigers. Last season the Rattlers romped to a 47-7 victory over the Tigers, led by a 200-yard performance by running back Al-Terek McBurse. This will be the first visit to Tallahassee for the Tigers since they were fully admitted into the MEAC.
In back-to-back home football weekends, the Rattlers will welcome Buddy Pugh and the Bulldogs of South Carolina State University on Oct. 20. The Rattlers snapped their eight-year drought against the Bulldogs with a gritty 27-24 win in Orangeburg, S.C. Quarterback Damien Fleming was solid for the Rattlers, completing 34-of-40 passes for 297 yards. The game would be locked away for the Rattlers as Ronald Jackson got a crucial first down in Bulldog territory on a fake punt.
The Rattlers will be open on Oct.27.
The North Carolina A&T Aggies will get another shot at the Rattlers after feeling they allowed victory out of their grasp last season. In the 2011 game, the Rattlers eked out a 26-20 win in a hotly contested battle. The fiercely competitive game resulted in 299-yards in penalties.
The Prince Hall Shriner's Diabetes Football Classic will take place on Nov.10, against the Eagles of North Carolina Central University. It will be the Eagles' first visit to Tallahassee as full members of the MEAC. Last season the Rattlers handily defeated the Eagles 31-10 in Durham, N.C.
The pinnacle of the season will be on Nov. 17 as the Rattlers take on the Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman University in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Florida Classic in Orlando. The Wildcats took advantage of Rattler turnovers to prevail 26-16 on 2011. Joe Taylor and B-CU's Brian Jenkins are now 1-1 in head-to-head matchups. The Rattlers will look to tame the Wildcats on the final day of the regular season to have their shot at the MEAC title.
Season Tickets Prices
$60 General Admission (Limited Quantity
$75 - Reserved
$100 Chair Back Box Seating (Renewal Only)
$125 - Reserved Basketball Included
$150 - Chair Back Box Seating with Basketball Included (Renewal Only)
For ticket information, call (850) 599-3141.
Rattler Booster packages are available now by calling their office at (850) 224-6093. For more information on the Rattler Boosters, please visit www.TheRattlerBoosters.com.
Don't forget, if you can't make it to a home game, you can sign up to Rattler Vision, where you can watch the game streamed to your laptop or home computer. To sign up to Rattler Vision, go to www.FAMUAthletics.com and sign up.
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