SportsTrick play helps FAMU beat Howard in Celebration Bowl

Trick play helps FAMU beat Howard in Celebration Bowl

FAMU wins the Celebration Bowl 30-26 over Howard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Photo credit: Youtube/HBCU GameDay)
The play that never worked in practice worked in the 2023 Cricket Celebration Bowl and helped Florida A&M bring the HBCU national championship back to the SWAC.
Jeremy Moussa threw three fourth-quarter touchdown passes, including the decisive trick play, as the Rattlers played their strike, strike, strike offense to perfection in a 30-26 victory over Howard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday in Atlanta.In front 41,108, the third-largest crowd in Celebration Bowl history — an audience that included Vice President Kamala Harris, a Howard alum — FAMU saved its best for last. With 5:46 left in a game that Howard had controlled, Moussa handed the ball to running back Terrell Jennings, who pitched the ball back to the quarterback. Moussa juggled it for a second, then unleashed a perfect strike 38 yards to Jah’Marae Sheread for the points that gave the Rattlers the lead for good.
“I’ll tell you, it never worked in practice,” said FAMU coach Willie Simmons, whose team celebrated the victory on the 45th anniversary of the day that the Rattlers became the only HBCU to win the NCAA Division I-AA championship.The Rattlers (12-1) had to rally after trailing 14-0 in the first quarter and 16-7 at halftime. Moussa said the Rattlers weren’t rattled by having played what Simmons told them at halftime was there “worst half of football all season” and believed they could recover to win their 11th consecutive game.
“We had a couple plays there we were saving to use just at the right time,” Moussa said.
If Simmons had more time to think about it, he might not have authorized the play.
“Thank God I didn’t go with my right mind,” he said.
Moussa completed 19 of 32 passes for 289 yards, but was far from his best. Two of his three touchdown passes went to Kelvin Dean Jr. But Moussa’s second interception, picked off by Carson Hinton and returned 27 yards for a touchdown with only 7:14 left to play, looked like trouble.
But the Rattlers recovered, thwarting Howard (6-6) in its upset bid. Isaiah Major’s late interception of a Quinton Williams desperation pass sealed FAMU’s victory.
“When you get into clutch situations, you kind of know what the offense is going to present to you,” said Major, the SWAC Defensive Player of the Year. “They got limited time, so they are trying to move the ball fast to save as much time as possible. I went with my hunch and just made a play on the ball, and God allowed me to come up with the interception.”
Howard coach Larry Scott tempered his disappointment about the loss with his pride in the Bison.

“It’s never fun to lose,” Scott said. “Penalties and turnovers, especially in championship games, those are the things that bite you. We couldn’t do enough to overcome that. One thing we pride ourselves on not doing is beating ourselves, and we kind of did that a little bit. However, I’m proud of this football team – proud of what we started, what we’ve been accomplishing, and what we’ll continue to build upon.”
Florida A&M, a member of the MEAC until moving to the SWAC in 2021, became only the second SWAC team to win the Celebration Bowl in eight tries. Grambling, which beat North Carolina Central 10-9 in 2016, was the other.
“Both conferences are really good,” said Moussa, the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year. “But I think we show that we’re a different kind of team. No matter what conference we’re playing, MEAC versus SWAC, it doesn’t really matter. It’s about FAMU, how we’re built and how we play.”

Source: Rolling Out

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