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College football

FAMU vs. B-CC: Keys to victory

By Times staff writers
Published November 20, 2004

FIVE KEYS FOR B-CC

1. APPLY PRESSURE ON BEN DOUGHERTY: FAMU's senior quarterback has put up good numbers (1,798 yards, 13 touchdowns, eight interceptions), but he has spent a lot of time in the dirt this season. Dougherty has been sacked about four times a game, and the Rattlers have allowed 37 sacks in all. Teams learned early the best way to beat FAMU and its four-receiver set is to blitz. A lot.

2. GET THE BALL TO WEEMS: Eric Weems earned his place in Bethune-Cookman lore last year when, as a freshman, he scored the winning touchdown in the Florida Classic on an 18-yard pass from Allen Suber in the final seconds. He can rush. He can pass, and he can certainly score, making him ideal for B-CC's Wyattbone attack.

3. BE SPECIAL: Special teams have been a strength all season. Junior Ricky Williams, who graduated from Boca Ciega High, can electrify. He had a 100-yard kickoff return against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the season opener.

4. SEIZE OPPORTUNITIES: FAMU has shown a tendency to lose its grip on the ball, though of 22 fumbles, it has lost only nine. Meanwhile, the Wildcats have intercepted 19 passes while throwing six.

5. PUT THE PAST BEHIND: By any measure, the Wildcats have had a tough season. They've dealt with two hurricanes and the death of a freshman lineman in a September car accident. They had a shot at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title only to fall out of contention two weeks ago. With no hope of the I-AA playoffs either, the Wildcats have to shake off the tragedies and disappointments and stay focused on today's prize: a historic third consecutive victory over their archrival.

- SHARON GINN, Times correspondent

FIVE KEYS TO VICTORY FOR FAMU

1. CONTAIN B-CC'S RUNNING GAME: The Rattlers lost Oct. 9 to Nicholls State because they couldn't stop its triple slot option rushing attack, giving up 313 yards on the ground. The Wildcats managed 223 yards on the ground in last season's game and average 218.8 this season.

2. KISER'S BIG GAME: Three of Roosevelt Kiser's top four receiving games this season have come in FAMU wins. He scorched Tennessee State for 181 yards and gained 102 against Virginia Union and 88 against Savannah State.

3. SCORE MORE THAN 30: It's hard to believe the Rattlers will be able to slow the Wildcats' option attack and hold them to fewer than 30 points. With its misleading offense, B-CC has averaged 38 points in their past two games against the Rattlers. So the offense must keep FAMU close.

4. COME OUT SHARP: The Rattlers haven't played since losing to Florida Atlantic on Oct. 30, and three weeks off seems like an eternity in college football. FAMU has been simulating games by hitting each other, and it has conducted more conditioning drills. Meanwhile, B-CC played the past two weeks, losing 24-17 to Hampton and 10-7 to Howard. With so much riding on this game, the Rattlers can not fall behind early because they might not be able to recover.

5. HANDLE THE PRESSURE: Every team this season except Savannah State, a 50-14 win, has blitzed the Rattlers repeatedly. And FAMU's offense has played below expectations because of it. Dougherty needs to make the correct reads and hold onto the football, or B-CC's plus-16 turnover margin will improve.

-IBRAM ROGERS, Times correspondent

[Last modified November 20, 2004, 01:27:57]


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