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One Band Doesn't Stop the Show

Lee Doss looks in a touchdown pass.

There was only one band in the stands at the Atlanta Football Classic but on the field, Southern and Florida A&M put on a heck of a nail biting performance with the Jaguars prevailing over the Rattlers 21-14 on Saturday in the Georgia Dome.

FAMUs Damien Fleming and Southern’s Dray Joseph aired out the Dome with 35 attempts and two touchdowns.

Fleming put the Rattlers on the board first, lofting a 7 yard pass over the head of Jaguars DB Johnathan Mack into the hands of rangy receiver Travis Harvey.

Joseph put the Jags in striking distance just before the end of the half. Brandon Hepburn’s timely sack of Joseph on third and 1 forced the Jags into a lengthy fourth down situation. Interim Coach Odum reached into his bag of tricks setting up for the field goal before shifting into a shotgun with wide receiver Lee Doss behind center. Doss’ wobbly duck intended for tight end Rashaun Allen found a leaping FAMU DB Devan Roberts instead.

“We just didn’t execute,” said Southern Interim Head Coach Dawson Odums of the trick play. “We were having trouble getting points, having trouble moving the football. It was a little long of a field goal for our kicker and too close to punt. So we were thinking, hey with the time and the field position if we fake it right there we got a chance to get seven points and then come out in the second half and get the ball back and drive down and score and get another 7 points and hey turn this football game around.

What the halftime show lacked in the Marching 100s numbers, it made up for in star power. Hip Hop legend Doug E. Fresh, R&B legend Chaka Khan, local rapper Future, and throngs of dancers more than delivered the goods.

Southern opened the second half the same way it ended the first with an interception. FAMU DB Marvin Ross intercepted Joseph’s pass intended for wide receiver Michael Berry. In all fairness, Berry made no effort to make a play on the ball. A point Joseph appeared to address when the pair approached the bench.

Joseph drew the game even on the next offensive series with a 14 yard strike to running back Sylvester Nzekwe. The senior from Seattle beat FAMU linebacker Akil Blount underneath and out ran the pursuit into the endzone.

Fleming and Joseph each added a touchdown for their respective squad to keep the game tied. Fleming’s 51 yard bomb to Henry caught the Jags secondary sleeping on duty.

“They were playing more cover 2 than we anticipated,” said FAMU Head Coach Joe Taylor. “That was one of those times where we got over the top and it was a good throw and catch.”

The Jags answered on the ensuing drive, marching 65 yards for the tying score. Joseph hit his best friend Lee Doss with as close to a perfect pass as humanly possible. “We started off in trips and we motioned him over and I saw a guy follow him so I knew they were in man,” said Joseph. “I just threw the ball to the pylon like I’ve been taught to do and Doss made a heck of a catch.”

After both defenses held the respective opposition to 4 and out series, lightning struck. Strange things tend to happen in the middle of normalcy. In the middle of FAMUs drive, Jags linebacker Corry Roy snatched the ball out of Flemings hands but before he could put it away Rattler offensive lineman Zerrie Patterson knocked the ball out of Roy’s hands straight up into the air. Roy caught the fumble and raced towards the endzone. Before he could get there FAMU running back Eddie Rocker jumped on the 230 pound Hawaiian and wrestled him to the ground. Here’s where things got a little weird. Somehow Rocker wound up underneath Roy as the pair fell to the ground at the 6 yard line. Roy, resting on top of Rocker, tossed the ball to trailing linebacker Daniel Brown who carried it in for the game winning score.

FAMUs hopes ended in the redzone with less than a minute to play. Rattler punt returner Lenworth Lennon returned Chase Tuten’s 28 yard punt- 22 yards for first and 10 inside the Southern 40 with a full two minutes left to play. The Rattlers offense picked up 32 of the 38 yards it needed to tie the game in just one minute and 34 seconds. All hope for overtime or an outright win ended right there on the Jaguars 6 yard line. On 4 th and 3 Fleming’s pass to Harvey, a pairing that had worked twice before for scores, fell aimlessly to the synthetic grass.

Yes, the game was short one marching band but it was long on exciting college football. For those who opted not to attend because of the band’s absence should be reminded of why the band plays in the first place.

Southern Jaguars 21 vs Florida A&M 14

  • Gospel singer Marvin Sapp performs the National Anthem for the Atlanta Football Classic audience.

  • Actor Chadwick Boseman of the soon-to-be released film "42". Boseman plays Jackie Robinson.

  • Damien Fleming lofts a 7 yard pass over the head of Jaguars DB Johnathan Mack into the hands of rangy receiver Travis Harvey for a TD.

  • Jaguars QB Dray Joseph avoids a defender and looks down field for a receiver.

  • Southern RB Demetrius Carter struggles for yards against the Rattlers defense.

  • Southern RB Demetrius Carter carries a couple of Rattlers on his back.

  • FAMU QB Damien Fleming gets squeezed by two Jaguars defenders.

  • Jags DB Marquon Webster nearly intercepts a pass intended for Rattler WR Felix Admasen.

  • Rattlers LB Brandon Hepburn gets all helmet trying to stop Jags RB Sylvester Nzekwe.

  • Rattlers LB Brandon Hepburn gets help from an airborn Brandon Denmark to bring down Jags QB Dray Joseph.

  • Rattlers DB Devan Roberts intercepts the pass from Jags WR Lee Doss to stop a fake punt.

  • Southern's Human JukeBox takes the field at halftime.

  • Southern's Human JukeBox takes the field at halftime. All horns and percussion.

  • Southern's Dancing Dolls join the band on the field.

  • Hip Hop legend Doug E. Fresh performs at halftime of the Atlanta Football Classic.

  • Hip Hop dancers take the field during the new look halftime show at the Atlanta Football Classic.

  • R&B legend Chaka Khan takes the stage on the 50 yard line during the new look halftime show at the Atlanta Football Classic.

  • R&B legend Chaka Khan is whisked away after performing during the new look halftime show at the Atlanta Football Classic.

  • Southern University's cheerleaders entertain the crowd.

  • Jags RB Sylvester Nzekwe scores Southern's first touchdown from 14 yards out.

  • FAMU QB Damien Fleming fires a pass over the Jags defense.

  • Jags WR Lee Doss attempts to elude a FAMU DB.

  • Rattlers WR Travis Harvey catches the pass from Fleming for a 51 yard touchdown.

  • Jags WR Lee Doss turns up-field with a Rattler DB hot on his heels.

  • Jags WR Lee Doss catches a 7 yard touchdown pass from Dray Joseph to tie the game 14-14.

  • Fans of all ages enjoyed the game.

  • Jags linebacker Corry Roy snatches the ball out of the hands of Rattlers QB Damien Fleming to spark the game winning TD.

  • Rattlers WR Travis Harvey runs for yards before Jags DB Marquon Webster pushes him out of bounds.

  • Rattlers QB Damien Fleming loses and re-catches the ball before being tackled by the Jags defenders.

  • Jags interim Head Coach Dawson Odoms hoists the hardware after leading the Jags to a 21-14 win over the Rattlers.

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