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State: FAMU keeps MEAC hopes alive with win over Aggies

©Associated Press
October 20, 2002

TALLAHASSEE -- For Florida A&M coach Billy Joe, losing to North Carolina A&T the past three years was painful.

But he said losing a fourth time, and getting knocked out conference title contention, would have been a "slow death."

Joe's Rattlers prevailed Saturday, holding off North Carolina A&T for a 36-28 win and keeping alive their chances of winning a third straight conference title.

"We still have a shot," Joe said. "There's still hope."

Florida A&M (5-3, 3-2 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) ended a two-game home losing streak and beat the Aggies for the first time since 1998. North Carolina A&T lost its second straight.

Quarterback Casey Printers threw two touchdowns to help Florida A&M build an early lead, and Devvin Richardson ran for two clinching scores in the fourth.

North Carolina A&T had a chance to tie it, but a drive stalled at the Rattlers 47 with 2:14 left.

Richardson's touchdowns, on a pair of 2-yard runs, came after North Carolina A&T scored 13 straight in the third to pull within 23-20.

Printers led a 92-yard drive, capped by Richardson's first touchdown, to put the Rattlers ahead 29-20 with 5:51 left. After an interception and three penalties on North Carolina A&T, Richardson scored his second touchdown less than two minutes later.

The Rattlers dominated offensively, outgaining North Carolina A&T 424-267. Printers threw for 245 yards, and running back Rashard Pompey rushed for 119.

But Florida A&M had special-teams problems, missing two extra points and bungling a punt snap that led to a North Carolina A&T touchdown. The Aggies also had problems with mistakes, totaling 16 penalties for 135 yards.

Printers threw his first touchdown, a 26-yarder to Charlie Allen, on the first possession. He connected with Rod Miller for a 14-yard touchdown in the third, which was followed by a 1-yard Pompey scoring run, making it 23-7 in the middle of the third.

* * *

TOLEDO 27, CENTRAL FLORIDA 24: Brian Jones threw two touchdowns and Toledo's revived ground game sparked a second-half rally for the visiting Rockets.

Toledo had 72 rushing yards in a scoreless first half, its first in 26 games. Then the Rockets erupted for 228 yards and scores by Astin Martin and William Bratton.

Toledo went up 21-17 behind Martin's 59-yard TD sprint on the fourth quarter's first play. Martin, who had 113 yards on 13 carries, turned the right corner and outran the secondary.

UCF had a short-lived 24-21 lead on its ensuing possession when Ryan Schneider connected with Michael Gaines on a 13-yard tight end screen.

But Bratton put the Rockets up for good behind a 2-yard jog with 8:23 left. After a 53-yard kickoff return to the UCF 46, Toledo ran nine straight times for the go-ahead TD.

Jones completed 22-of-31 for 197 yards against two interceptions. He entered with a nation's best 71.1 percent completion percentage.

Schneider completed 19-of-030 for 210 yards.

B-CC 21, S. CAROLINA ST. 6: Quarterback Allen Suber had 192 yards rushing and a touchdown for visiting Bethune-Cookman.

Suber scored the final touchdown on a 3-yard run in the fourth and had 60 yards passing.

Erik Lash had two touchdowns, scoring on a 3-yard run in the second and an 8-yard run in the third for Bethune-Cookman (8-0, 4-0 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference).

The Bulldogs' only score came when Trevin Smith ran for a 4-yard TD in the fourth to pull within 14-6.

South Carolina State had six turnovers, including a first-and-goal fumble on the Wildcats 1. The Bulldogs had their worst offensive performance of the season with just 248 yards.

"Basically, we learned that we are not yet the best team in this conference," coach Buddy Pough said. "We are just not there yet."

Pough said he was disappointed his team couldn't convert when they had chances to score.

"We have a broken-hearted football team as well as fans and alumni, but I expect this team to bounce back," he said.

MAINE 33, FIU 7: Jake Eaton scored three touchdowns and threw 187 yards for the visiting Black Bears.

Leading 3-0 in the second quarter, Eaton capped a 74-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak for Maine, the eighth-ranked team in Division I-AA.

The score was the first touchdown that FIU has allowed in four home games and extended Eaton's streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to 31.

Marcus Williams rushed for 161 yards on 22 carries. The Black Bears sacked Jamie Burke seven times. He completed 9-of-18 with 106 yards and two interceptions. Maine forced five turnovers, holding FIU to 209 yards.

FIU's score came on Tori Robinson's 1-yard TD run with 12 seconds left.

MOREHEAD ST. 48, JACKSONVILLE 14: David Caudill completed 7-of-18 for 192 yards and rushed for 98 yards on 13 carries for the visiting Eagles.

The Eagles, No. 3 in I-AA, held Jacksonville to 94 yards in the second half. Morehead finished with 456 yards, including 296 rushing.

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