FAMU Gets a Title Try

By Thomas, Bob | The Florida Times Union, August 25, 1996 | Go to article overview

FAMU Gets a Title Try


Thomas, Bob, The Florida Times Union


TALLAHASSEE -- It's hard to improve on perfection, but Florida

A&M football coach Billy Joe is willing to give it a whirl, now

that the Rattlers' schedule is cleared in time to receive a

Division I-AA playoff berth in 1996.

By pushing back the traditional season-ending game with rival

Bethune-Cookman, which no longer conflicts with the start of the

playoffs, the Rattlers could accept a playoff berth if they

successfully defend their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference title.

"I'm ecstatic about the opportunity to get that automatic bid,"

Joe said. "You always want to take your team as far as it can go."

A year ago Joe guided the Rattlers on their most successful

ride since 1978, when coach Rudy Hubbard's club capped a 12-1

season by winning the first I-AA championship ever played.

FAMU's '95 squad finished 9-3, losing to Southern in the

Heritage Bowl after a striking 6-0 run through the MEAC.

Duplicating that success won't be easy, considering the loss of

13 starters, including single-season rushing leader Kwame Vidal

and all-time leading tackler linebacker Earl Holmes. …

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