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FAMU. Another Spread Offense!!!

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FAMU. Another Spread Offense!!!

Rattlers' Dougherty battle tested

By Ted Hutton
Staff Writer
Posted October 27 2004

BOCA RATON ? Being sacked 25 times might wear down a quarterback, but Florida A&M's Ben Dougherty has faced his share of tough challenges.

Try being a missionary for your church in Las Vegas.


Dougherty (pronounced Dockertee) has been hammered by defenses all season, but has gotten up each time and will be trying to lead the Rattlers (3-5) to back-to-back wins for the second time this season when Florida Atlantic (5-1) visits Tallahassee on Saturday at 4 p.m.

"He's a real fine quarterback and a super intelligent young man," FAMU coach Billy Joe said about Dougherty, a 24-year-old senior who runs the Rattlers' Gulf Coast offense.

The offense, which uses four wide receivers to spread defenses out, relies on Dougherty's arm and legs as he has thrown for 1,604 yards and 12 touchdowns and is the second-leading rusher with 195 yards and three scores.

Dougherty (6 feet 4, 215 pounds) has managed to put up those numbers while losing to four Division I teams, including a 62-0 loss to Virginia Tech two weeks ago in which he was sacked five times.

But Dougherty and the I-AA Rattlers bounced back last week, beating Savannah State 50-14 with Dougherty passing for four touchdowns and running for two more in the first half.

"It was nice for us to get a win like that," Dougherty said, "but we know FAU is not Savannah State. We are going to have to work harder."

Dougherty took a winding path to FAMU.

Born in Germany, he grew up in Elma, Wash., and was a two-sport star at Elma High.

Dougherty threw for 6,760 yards and 74 touchdowns in his prep career, and in his senior year passed for 513 yards in a game to break a record held by Drew Bledsoe. Elma went on to win its first state football title.

Dougherty then led the Elma basketball team to the state title and became the first athlete to be named the state's Player of the Year in football and basketball.

Dougherty accepted a football scholarship to Iowa State, where he redshirted his freshman year before deciding to go on a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was assigned to Las Vegas.

Dougherty did not return to Iowa State after the mission work, instead going to North Iowa Community College. He played a year there and then his father called Joe at FAMU, since he felt the offense was a good match for his son.

"I told him I would need some tapes, and I liked what I saw," Joe said. "Ben came to visit, and we liked him and he liked us and we had a marriage."

Dougherty played in just three games for FAMU in 2002 and then emerged as the starter last year, passing for 2,502 yards and 13 touchdowns while missing two games with a separated shoulder.

"I love it here. That fans, the teammates, it has been a wonderful experience," Dougherty said.

A-GAME EXPECTED

Joe said he would rather that FAU came to Tallahassee undefeated instead of right after the Owls were upset in their home opener by Louisiana-Monroe.

"After a loss they are going to be focused and working hard. They are going to bring their A-game up here," said Joe, who was also worried because his team is coming off a big homecoming win. "Our players are breaking their arms from patting themselves on the back so much."

FAMU is 2-1 at home this season.

Copyright ? 2004, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
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FAMU. Another Spread Offense!!!

Posted on Wed, Oct. 27, 2004

FAMU trying to ride wave of five TDs in eight minutes

By Heath A. Smith

DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER


There is a movie currently out in theaters entitled "Friday Night Lights" about a Texas high-school football team's quest for a state championship. The football players had a motto: Play perfect.

Florida A&M's offense had searched in vain for perfection this season until the second quarter of Saturday's win over Savannah State.

That's when the fuse was finally lit that led to the Gulf Coast Offense's explosion for five passing touchdowns in a span of eight minutes. It was a blast from the past: FAMU had not scored that many points in a quarter since 1996 against Morgan State.

"Everybody was just executing," sophomore receiver Roosevelt Kiser said. "Ben (Dougherty) was hitting wide-open receivers. Everybody was on the same page, and we finally put it together."

To put it in perspective, the offense scored more in that quarter than it had in its previous seven. The question now is whether the Rattlers can bottle that quarter of perfection and use it again starting with Saturday's opponent, Florida Atlantic.

"We feel like it gave us momentum and we need that to play against a good Florida Atlantic team," Dougherty said.

Two factors played parts in the Rattlers' big second quarter against Savannah State: opportunity and execution.

The opportunity came in the form of three Savannah State turnovers, which the Rattlers turned into three of their five second-quarter touchdowns. The execution came in the form of six consecutive drives that resulted in touchdowns.

The Rattlers (3-5) finished Saturday's game plus-two in the takeaway-giveaway category, but they are still minus-three for the season.

Florida Atlantic (5-1) is minus-five in takeaways and giveaways but has turned the ball over five fewer times than the Rattlers.

"What I'm so impressed with is that they are so well-coached," Joe said of Florida Atlantic. "They are methodical and disciplined. They make very few mistakes and don't turn the ball over."

While forcing five turnovers against a team like Florida Atlantic may be asking too much from FAMU's defense, the players realize that they can't afford to turn over the ball anymore if they expect to win Saturday and beyond this season.

"Offensively we need to limit our mistakes and we need to put points on the board," Kiser said. "I think the game is going to come down to who makes the least mistakes. Both teams have great offenses, and it's about which team is going to to be on the same page."




Contact Heath A. Smith at (850) 599-2166 or [email protected]
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