ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Albert Chester II threw for 339 yards and five touchdowns Saturday, leading Florida A&M to a 35-21 victory over archrival Bethune-Cookman in the 27th annual Florida Classic.
Directing his second straight victory in a rivalry so fierce that the schools once suspended the series for two years because they couldn't agree on where the games would be played, Chester completed 22 of 34 passes and tossed TDs to four different receivers.
FAMU (7-4, 5-3 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) extended its lead in the series to 45-14-1, including an 18-9 edge since the annual season-ending game became a neutral site event in 1978 and began drawing crowds of 70,000-plus.
Both teams entered the game coming off lopsided losses, FAMU overwhelmed 45-12 at North Carolina A&T and Bethune-Cookman (5-6, 3-5) shut out at home 28-0 by Howard, leaving the Wildcats needing a victory Saturday to avoid a losing record.
Wesley Taylor was one of the stars in FAMU's 26-23 come-from-behind victory in the 2005 game, kicking a 43-yard field goal in the closing seconds of regulation to force overtime and making a 21-yarder to win it.
The junior kicker got off to a bad start Saturday, missing an extra point after the Rattlers' first TD and hooking a 48-yard field goal attempt that would have given FAMU a nine-point lead in the second quarter.
With help from two major penalties on FAMU -- one for pass interference and the other for grabbing Jimmie Russell's face mask on a sack -- Bethune-Cookman marched 64 yards in 12 plays to take a 7-6 lead on Russell's 3-yard TD pass to Jonathan Summers.
Taylor redeemed himself, kicking a 27-yard field goal just before the half, and FAMU didn't trail again.
Bethune-Cookman scored on Jarod Rucker's 5-yard run in the third quarter, then pulled within 28-21 when Rucker threw a 15-yard TD pass to Eric Weems with 8:46 remaining in the fourth. The last TD gave Wildcat fans hope, but the defense couldn't stop Chester.
The FAMU quarterback's fifth TD pass, the 29-yarder to Hayward on a play in which the Bethune-Cookman defender slipped to the ground, sealed the victory with about five minutes to go.