ORLANDO – The 2023 Florida Classic, pitting the Florida A&M Rattlers (10-1, 8-0 SWAC) against it’s annual rival, the Bethune Cookman Wildcats (3-8, 2-6 SWAC) on Saturday at Camping World Stadium.
In what has been called an HBCU event on steroids, a crowd of over 56,000 fans showed up to witness the pageantry, the football game, and most of all, the halftime battle of the bands.
The Rattlers came into the game riding on at nine-game winning streak and ready to take on the struggling Wildcats.
Early in the game, Bethune Cookman fumbled on it’s opening drive, giving Florida A&M great field position to take advantage and score from the BCC 22 in three plays for the games opening score, 7-0.
FAMU continued to timey the BCC opens through most of the game, going into the halftime with a 17-7 lead.
Halftime was a spectacle, with both Bethune Cookman and FAMU putting on dazzling performances, each playing with the other school’s initials. BCC spelled out the initials “F.A.M.U.” and converted it to “D.A.M.U” which brought a roar from the crowed.
Florida A&M countered with forming the letters “B.” and “C.”, towards the end of their show followed by the letters “zzz”. The Rattlers then proceeded to fall out on the ground, as if the Cookman show put them to sleep. They got up, and marched into the formation of the number “100” with the announcer declaring that “there is only one 100 and not to be fooled by imitators”. The crowed was ecstatic.
The second half of the game was all Rattlers, at they drove on to the final 24-7 score.
Rattlers QB Jeremy Moussa had a solid game., going 15 for 21 for 150 yards. He kept the defense on their toes as the FAMU running game had also shown to be a powerful tool for the day.
“FAMU was the better team tonight,” first-year coach Raymond Woodie Jr. said. “We had our chances to escalate scores, but we gave the ball away and we didn’t stop the run like we should’ve stopped the run. I just think we did not capitalize on the things we were given.”
Terrell Jennings was named game MVP. He had 8 carries for 62 yards and 2 touchdowns in the game.
In the end, Florida A&M dominated Bethune-Cookman winning 24-7. The win gives the Rattlers their third straight Florida Classic victory.
Florida A&M will play Prairie View A&M in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship game on December 2nd in Tallahassee.