The Southern University Jaguars ralled to a 21-14 come-from-behind victory against FAMU in the Atlanta Football Classic Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
Southern quarterback Dray Joseph lost the statistical battle with Florida A&M signal caller Damien Fleming. But Joseph isn’t complaining after rallying the Jaguars to a 21-14 come-from-behind victory in the Atlanta Football Classic Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
Fleming, who came off the bench in the second half against Southern and led the Rattlers to a 38-33 victory after they trailed 33-17, was primed to be the hero once again while playing in his hometown. He completed 30 of 35 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns. However, that wasn’t enough to subdue the Jaguars, who won their second consecutive game after a 0-2 start that cost Coach Stump Mitchell his job. Joseph threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns while completing 25 of 35 passes as the Jaguars fought back in the second half..
Neither team was able to move the ball on the ground. Southern (2-2) rushed for 32 yards on 20 attempts; Florida A&M (2-3) gained just four yards on 23 carries.
Southern trailed 7-0 after Fleming evaded a heavy rush and tossed a seven-yard touchdown pass to Travis Harvey on the first play of the Rattlers’ first possession. The Rattlers’ defense set up the score by recovering Southern running back Sylvester Nzweke’s fumble after dropping him for a six-yard loss.
The Rattlers’ lead held up until midway through the third quarter when Nzekwe caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Joseph to tie the score. The Rattlers regained the lead late in the quarter when Fleming unloaded a 51-yard touchdown bomb to Harvey. Joseph matched that score with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Lee Doss with 13:38 remaining in the game to tie the score at 14 apiece.
Southern’s defense scored the winning touchdown midway through the fourth quarter on a bizarre play. Linebacker Corry Roy sacked Fleming for a two yard loss and forced him to fumble the ball. Roy picked up the ball and rambled 21 yards to Florida A&M’s six, where he fumbled. Daniel Brown recovered the ball and rumbled into the end zone to give the Jaguars the lead, 21-14.
Florida A&M had an opportunity to force overtime on its last possession of the game. The Rattlers got the ball at Southern’s 38 with 2:17 remaining following a 28-yard punt by Chase Tuten and a 22-yard return by Lenworth Lennon. Fleming drove the Rattlers to Southern’s six. Florida A&M turned the ball over on downs when Fleming threw an incomplete pass intended for Harvey in the end zone on fourth-and-three.
“We believe in just will,’’ said Dawson Odums, Southern’s defensive coordinator who replaced Mitchell as head coach on an interim basis. “I told them at halftime to repeat after me, ‘We won’t lose’. Then, I asked them to go out in the second half and prove it. It was a tale of two halves. It was exciting for us. It was exciting to come away with a win.’’