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FAMU football home opener brings thousands to Bragg Stadium

FAMU vs UWF
Adrian Andrews
/
WFSU
Florida A&M vs UWF matchup at Bragg Memorial Stadium. Sept. 16, 2023

FAMU’s Bragg Memorial Stadium welcomed 17,000 fans for the first home football game.

Florida A&M University added another tally to the win column on Saturday, 31-10.

The Rattlers (2-1) faced off against the University of West Florida (2-1) at FAMU's newly renovated Bragg Memorial Stadium. The University unveiled some new additions including an upgraded LED scoreboard, new lighting, and a powerful sound system that could be heard a mile away. But that wasn’t all that had fans galvanized.

The University renamed its football field after the late Ken Riley.

Florida A&M renames their football field after the late Ken Riley. The University officially unveiled the field at the first home game on Saturday, Sept., 16, 2023.
Adrian Andrews
/
WFSU
Florida A&M renames their football field after the late Ken Riley. The University officially unveiled the field at the first home game on Saturday, Sept., 16, 2023.

Riley, a former coach, NFL Hall of Fame player, and former FAMU athletic director is the latest former players to be recognized on campus.

“We’re the number one HBCU. I Iove the camaraderie of our culture here. We are family,” FAMU alumna Tee Swain said.

FAMU head coach Willie Simmons had his hands full as his team struggled to move the ball on the newly named Ken Riley Field. The Argonauts and the Rattlers were tied at the half, scoring just three points. But momentum quickly shifted in the second half.

Simmons and his team would score 21 unanswered points in the 3rd quarter to defeat West Florida. The victory kept the Rattler's home win streak alive at 16-0.

“I think they played a well-played game,” said 73-year-old Thomas Clemons. “I expected them to dominate, which they did, which I am proud of.”

Clemons has been a FAMU supporter for decades and has picked the Rattlers to win it all, including the Southwestern Athletic Conference title and the Black College National Championship.

“I expect us to dominate everybody. We should beat everybody in the SWAC. You know, I expect us to be in the Celebration Bowl this year. Those are our expectations this year and nothing less.”

The Florida A&M Rattlers are now 2-1 with more games left to go. They will host in-conference rival Alabama State this weekend, a crucial win for the Rattlers to remain on top of the division.

Adrian Andrews is a multimedia journalist with WFSU Public Media. He is a Gadsden County native and a first-generation college graduate from Florida A&M University. Adrian is also a military veteran, ending his career as a Florida Army National Guard Non-Comissioned Officer.

Adrian has experience in print writing, digital content creation, documentary, and film production. He has spent the last four years on the staff of several award-winning publications such as The Famuan, Gadsden County News Corp, and Cumulus Media before joining the WFSU news team.