Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Finish to Forget for FAMU Fourth-Quarter Collapse Hurts

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Finish to Forget for FAMU Fourth-Quarter Collapse Hurts

Article excerpt

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -- This week will be one of the most difficult weeks the Florida A&M Rattlers will have ever endured.

Today should be a day the Rattlers spend getting ready to make preparations to play for the school's second national championship and first since 1978. Instead, they will be lamenting over what should have been after blowing an 11-point fourth quarter lead that allowed Youngstown State to pull out a thrilling 27-24 win in the Division I-AA semifinal playoff game Saturday.

"It was a great football game," FAMU coach Billy Joe said. "We made some crucial mistakes in reference to penalties and play selection. We made some mistakes out there that really hurt us. But we'll learn from it and come back even stronger."

The main play that will forever stand out in the players mind was quarterback Quinn Gray's interception at Youngstown State's 1-yard line with 8:40 left in the game. The Rattlers led 24-13 at the time and Gray, who had been inserted into the game on the previous drive and instantly led the team to a touchdown, was trying to put the game away.

FAMU had third-and-goal from the 4. At the very least, a chip-shot field goal would have given the Rattlers a 14-point lead.

"We had a lot of momentum going in our favor," defensive end Jauron Dailey said. "We knew that if we could keep pounding the ball and get another touchdown or field goal, that would make it hard for us to lose the game. All our defense would have to do is get them in a situation where maybe they would go three-and-out and make them punt the ball. We did need another field goal or touchdown to get the feeling we could win this game."

Gray was trying to hit receiver Jacquay Nunnally in the end zone, but didn't see Penguins linebacker Tim Johnson standing in the passing lane. …

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