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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.’’

The victory gave Southern its first back-to-back victories since the 2009 season gained an endorsement from Florida A&M coach Joe Taylor for Odums to be named the Jaguars’ permanent coach.

“I really feel that if Coach Odums is not given the job tonight, something’s wrong over there in Baton Rouge,” Taylor said. “He certainly had his team ready. They played at a high level, and they made the plays to win the ballgame. It certainly was a big win. I just can’t say enough about him and what he has done in such a short time with that program.”

Key Results
Alabama A&M 38, Grambling State 17: The Bulldogs relied on big plays to remain unbeaten with a home victory against the struggling defending SWAC champions in the third annual Louis Crews Classic. Alabama A&M (5-0, 4-0 SWAC)) had eight plays of 20 yards or longer while avenging a 16-15 loss to the G-Men (0-4, 0-3 SWAC) in the 2011 SWAC Championship Game. Alabama A&M senior running back Kaderius Lacey once again terrorized the Tigers’ defense. Lacey, who led the SWAC with 1,143 yards last year, rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown, which covered 45 yards. He also scored a touchdown on a 30-yard reception. Lacey rushed for 264 yards in two games against the G-Men last season. Quarterback Deaunte Mason had another big game for Alabama A&M. The senior from Nashville, Tenn., completed 13 of 18 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, and he didn’t throw any interception. Mason has averaged 252.3 yards in his last three games while completing of 73.2% (52 of 71) his passes without being intercepted. The Bulldogs put the game away early, building a 28-7 halftime lead. Alabama A&M is off to its best start since 1966 when the Bulldogs were members of the SIAC.

Tennessee State 40, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 13: The unbeaten Tigers, No. 1 in HBCU polls, continued to roll with a convincing homecoming win while celebrating the football program’s centennial. The Big Blue (5-0) subdued Arkansas-Pine Bluff (3-2) with a balanced offense that produced 463 yards. The ground game generated 201 yards as tailbacks Telvin Hooks and Trabis Ward rushed for 108 yards and 87 yards, respectively. Hooks scored two touchdowns, and Ward scored one. Quarterback Michael German completed 18 of 35 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. The Golden Lions jumped out to an early 10-0 lead. Quarterback Benjamin Anderson shocked Tennessee State with a 55-yard completion on Arkansas-Pine Bluff’s first play from scrimmage, but the Golden Lions a settle for a 29-yard field goal by Tyler Strickland for a 3-0 lead. Anderson connected with Ladarius Eckwood a 42-yard touchdown pass for a 10-0 lead before Tennessee State’s offense got untracked. Hooks got the Tigers going with a 15-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and Jamin Godfrey kicked field goals of 46 and 42 yards to give Tennessee State a 12-10 halftime lead. The Big Blue exploded in the half and turned the game into a rout after the Golden Lions had claimed a 13-12 third-quarter lead. Hooks’ two-yard touchdown run put Tennessee State ahead again, 19-13.The touchdown was the first of four for the Tigers in a span of nine minutes, 42 seconds. Quarterback Michael German completed 18 of 35 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns as Tennessee State rolled up 463 total yards..
South Carolina State 14, Norfolk State 0: The Bulldogs ended their three-game losing streak with a home victory while handing the defending MEAC champion Spartans their third consecutive defeat. This game was all about defense. Each team produced 261 yards total offense, and each only had one possession that last more than eight plays, neither of which produced points. South Carolina State (2-3, 1-1 MEAC) had a 13-play, 57-yard drive in the second period that ended with a missed field goal attempt of 43 yards by Nick Belcher. Norfolk State (2-3, 0-2 MEAC) had an 11-play, 83-yard drive that ended with an interception in the fourth quarter. South Carolina State scored both of its touchdowns in the first quarter. The Bulldogs’ first touchdown came on their opening possession. Jul Pendergrass scored on a three-yard run, capping a six-play, 65-yard drive that only consumed 1:19. The defense got the other touchdown when junior defensive back Kimario returned an interception 34 yards for a score with 2:27 left in the period. McFadden had two interceptions in the game.

Other Results

CIAA
Chowan 27, Fayetteville State 3
Elizabeth City State 23, Saint Augustine’s 21
Lincoln (Pa.) 55, Johnson C. Smith 53
Livingstone 23, Virginia Union 21
Shaw 16, Virginia State 6
Winston-Salem State 35, Bowie State 3

MEAC
Bethune-Cookman 36, Hampton 28
Howard 56, Savannah State 9
Morgan State 21, NC A&T 18

SIAC
Albany State 17, Kentucky State 14
Miles 50, Benedict 7
Morehouse 34, Clark Atlanta 16
Stillman 32, Lane 22
Tuskegee 49, Fort Valley State 18

SWAC
Alabama State 54, Alcorn State 14
Jackson State 34, Prairie View A&M 13
Sam Houston State 50, Texas Southern 6

INDEPENDENTS
Central State 23, William Jewel 21
Emporia State 37, Lincoln (Mo.) 26
Mercyhurst 36, Cheyney 10
Valdosta State 58, Edward Waters 10
Virginia Univ of Lynchburg 19, Southern Virginia 16
West Virginia State 21, Seton Hill 13

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