No. 17 Florida A&M roll past Delaware State

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. | Ryan Stanley set two records and Xavier Smith entered the single-game record books as the 17th-ranked Florida A&M University football team rolled to their eighth straight victory with a 52-30 win over Delaware State on Saturday in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) at Bragg Memorial Stadium.

Stanley, who made the return to starting quarterback after a week off, tossed his record-breaking 58th career touchdown pass in the first quarter to Smith, surpassing Quinn Gray’s mark of 57. The redshirt senior completed the night by throwing his 25th passing attempt early in the fourth quarter, giving him 1,114 for his career, also breaking the mark of 1,113 held by Gray.

Meanwhile, Smith got into the record books as well as he caught nine passes for 184 yards, with four touchdowns. Those four scores put him in some elite company as he now holds the single-game record touchdowns, surpassing the previous record held by Cainon Lamb, Jacquay Nunnally and Ray Alexander.

Florida A&M’s Marcus Williams making a play against Delaware State. Photo courtesy of Florida A&M University Athletics

Florida A&M (8-1 overall, 6-0 MEAC) raced out to a 14-0 first quarter lead as Azende Rey caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Stanley with 5:35 left in the opening quarter and Smith caught a 25-yard strike just three minutes later.

The Rattlers added to the lead just six seconds in the second quarter as Stanley connected with Smith for a 16-yard touchdown, giving FAMU a 21-0 lead with 14:54 remaining in the first half.

The duo of Stanley to Smith worked again, this one for 59 yards, as the Rattlers extended the advantage to 28-0 with 12:43 left.

A Yahia Aly 37-yard field goal pushed the margin to 31-0 with 6:52 remaining, but the Hornets finally got on the board with exactly a minute left in the half on a 19-yard field goal by Jose Romo-Martinez.

Delaware State (1-8, 0-6) refused to go away quietly as the Hornets cut the margin to 31-16 after touchdowns by Thomas Bertrand-Hudon and Jahad Neibauer.

However, a Davonne Kendrick 6-yard touchdown run extended the lead to 38-16 with 2:20 remaining in the third.

The Hornets answered with a 5-play, 42-yard drive as Bertrand-Hudon scored on a 1-yard run, trimming the deficit to 38-23 with 10 seconds left.

Marcus Williams finally broke loose on a kickoff return as he went 94 yards down the right sideline to give the Rattlers a 45-23 advantage at the end of the third quarter.

Florida A&M star Xavier Smith. Photo courtesy of Florida A&M University Athletics

Delaware State closed the gap to 45-30 after a 14-yard touchdown pass from Tylik Bethea to Bizzet Woodley with 10:33 remaining, but the Rattlers put the game away on their next drive as Rasean McKay tosses an 8-yard touchdown pass to Smith to give FAMU a 52-30 lead with just over seven minutes left.

Turning Point
The first half was dominated by Florida A&M as the Rattlers put up 31 points and never looked back.

Ryan Stanley went 13 of 19 passing in the first half for 199 yards and four touchdowns. Smith tallied five catches for 120 yards in the opening half.

After a slow start, Florida A&M put together a 9-play, 54-yard drive, capped by a Stanley 4-yard touchdown pass to Azende Rey with 5:35 left in the first quarter.

That scoring strike began a string of 31-unanswered points.

Three minutes later, Stanley broke the touchdown record and capped a 4-play, 64-yard drive with a 25-yard scoring strike to Smith.

Stanley ended the half with two more touchdown passes to Smith as FAMU got out to the big lead.

Courtesy of Florida A&M University Athletics 

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