WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – When Florida Memorial University's football team ran onto the field Saturday afternoon, it marked a day to remember – for the first time in 62 years, South Florida's only historically Black university (HBCU) had an active football team.
However, the Lions would like to quickly forget how the rest of afternoon went.
Going up against third-year, NAIA No. 9-ranked Keiser University, first-year Florida Memorial found it difficult to produce much on either side of the ball as the Lions fell 62-0 on a rain-soaked Keiser Field Saturday.
The game was played in front of just 110 fans, as Keiser University limited the number of fans allowed in and prohibited any fans from the visiting team from attending the game.
Florida Memorial (0-1) got off to an inauspicious start, allowing the Seahawks to return the opening kickoff 82 yards down to the Lions' 9-yard line. Keiser (1-0) scored four plays later – beginning what would be a 28-point quarter for the Seahawks.
Falling behind by multiple touchdowns not even five minutes into the first quarter – and ultimately trailing 48-0 by halftime – left FMU, which will travel to face Ave Maria University next Saturday (Sept. 19), playing "catch up" for essentially the entire game, which thwarted any chance of its offense or defense getting into a rhythm or building momentum.
Lions head coach Tim Harris Sr. said having a slow start against an opponent like Keiser is asking for long day.
"When things start off slow for you…against anyone really, but especially for us against Keiser today, it put us in bad spots and we couldn't get much of anything going," Harris said. "We struggled in all three phases because of it and we saw where we have to improve moving forward – and we will improve moving forward."
For all that went array for FMU Saturday, there were a handful of things on which the Lions could hang their hats.
FMU did not have any fumbles or interceptions Saturday. Keiser did block a pair of punts – one early in the first quarter that which set up the Seahawks' second score of the day and another in the second quarter that was returned for a touchdown – but otherwise, Florida Memorial protected the ball.
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