WITH Arit Essien
2012 Bank of America Atlanta Football Classic
By: Keisha Kelly/
What began as a slow start for Southern University proved to be an undeniable upset for Florida A&M during this year’s Atlanta Football Classic (AFC). In the absence of FAMU’s prided band, the Rattlers had to remain strong through fan encouragement alone. However the Rattlers were honored by a respectable -yet somehow mocking tribute to FAMU’s missing “Marching 100” by the Jaguar’s “Human Jukebox,” who spelled FAMU in formation during the halftime show. Despite the sluggish entry, the Jaguars were able to capitalize on FAMU’S weaknesses taking the win 21-14.
A fourth-quarter touchdown by the Jaguars defense scored the winning touchdown for the team -a rare loss for the Rattlers against the Jaguars in the Georgia Dome. Looking back on last year’s match, Southern led the game 33-17 in the third quarter. This year FAMU lead a majority of the game, only for Southern to step in and exploit key plays, to seal the final deal.
FAMU quarterback Damien Fleming tried to break a tackle in the backfield after Jaguars linebacker Corey Roy knocked the football loose. Roy’s play allowed Daniel Brown to grab the ball, where he took it to the end zone for a touchdown.
At the Southern 38-yard line, a favorable punt was set up for FAMU, earning them a first down at the 13. But the Rattlers still could not produce. Even with forced turnovers and a fumble, the Rattlers just couldn’t win the game, allowing the Jaguars room to prove themselves as the stronger team.
Undoubtedly, there was a reverberating silence felt this year by FAMU, in the wake of defeat, and with suspension of the “Marching 100” due to the hazing-induced death of a FAMU band member last November.
While old school artist Dougie Fresh, rapper Future, and the legendary Chaka Kahn were brought in to mixed reviews, in attempt to fill the obvious void in the Dome; two things were a little more certain: the Jaguars cemented themselves as the “Owners of the Dome” and took home bragging rights for 2012.
Atlanta Football Classic remains the second-largest recurring college sporting event in Georgia and a main fundraiser for 100 Black Men of Atlanta’s Project Success educational program for at-risk youth.