Inside Hotlanta and the SIAC
By Hal Lamar
Photos by Patsy Collier-Lamar
SC State upsets unbeaten NC A&T in Atlanta Classic 25-Who will square off for Classic 26?
ATLANTA- Now that Atlanta Classic 25 has been put to bed in the history books of college football, what may very well dominate future meetings of the Atlanta chapter of 100 Black Men is who will Classic 26’s opponents be? Classic 25 between MEAC rivals South Carolina State and North Carolina A&T drew 35,412 which according to the classic record books was the second lowest turnout in classic history just under the 34,561 that attended the 1997 classic. Will SCSU and NC A&T be invited back to Hotlanta for a rematch? A&T Athletics Director Earl Hilton indicated that the school had had some discussion with the 100 about returning to Atlanta in 2014 and said they would consider it highly if invited. This was A&T’s first trip to the classic and second time playing in Atlanta. It was SCSU’s eighth trip. Their record in the classic is now 4-4.
MY SPECULATION.: FAMU will be invited back, band and all. Their opponent? Who knows? If I were asked to make that decision, I’d be daring and choose FAMU or another FCS school to take on a strong Division II opponent.It’s never been done in classic history. Winston-Salem or Tuskegee come to mind.
This year’s classic proved as entertaining as intense right down to the final whistle. A blocked punt, field goal and a 65 yard scoring play, all in the second half, allowed underdog South Carolina State to upset unbeaten North Carolina A&T 29-24 at the Georgia Dome.
The crowd got big value for their ducat as the game between the two old rivals came down to the final 3:20 of the contest. Trailing 29-24, A&T drove to the SCSU 37 yard line before being stopped by the Bulldog’s defense.
NCA&T’s redshirt senior quarterback Lewis Kindle, an Atlanta product from West Lake High School(Cam Newton’s high school alma mater), threw for 130 yards and one touchdown but spent the majority of the afternoon running for his life behind the relentless pursuit of the Bulldog defense. “it was designed that way,” SCSU head coach Buddy Pough told the media in his post-game comments. “We’ve been the top defensive team in the country for sacks . It is part of our plan to keep that kind of pressure on our opponents.” Kindle was sacked three times in the game but told the INSIDE the pressure didn’t really faze him. “ They got some guys coming but the pressure didn’t really bother me as much. I just have to start making plays down the field.”
Meanwhile, SCSU”s signal caller, redshirt senior Richard Cue threw for 236 yards and two touchdowns, one of them a crowd-pleasing 65 yard strike to senior Tyler McDonald.
This year’s game marked the first time in the Atlanta Classic’s 25 year history that two teams from the same conference (Mid Eastern Athletic Conference) were selected to participate. There was a lot at stake for both schools. SC State, second behind NC A&T in the conference rankings, wanted to improve to 2-0 in conference play and challenge the lead of the Aggies. Their win actually put them first in the MEAC standings and drops A&T from first to fifth. Their loss leaves their conference won-loss to 1-1 and their overall to 3-1.
AND NOW, THE SIAC: Last weekend was a red letter day for Clark-AU which won its first game of the 2013 season 21 -17 over host Morehouse College and moved the Panthers into second place in the SIAC eastern division standings..It was their first win over the Maroon and White since the 32-25 win in 2006.
It was also the first win in the short head coaching career of former Tusculum College assistant Kevin Weston who told media following the victory that it was not just a win for his young charges alone.” This was a win for the entire school. I was told when I first arrived on campus that this was one of the most intense rivalries in college football. It is.”
Several keys helped CAU to secure the win. One was Montavious Taylor, the true freshman running back who played high school football locally at the New Schools at Carver. He rushed 33 times for 154 yards and scored twice. The other, and somewhat surprising, was the passing arm of freshman quarterback Trenton Earl. He accounted for 157 yards . In CAU’s first three games of the season, Earl passed for only 96 yards collectively. Conversely, both Morehouse quarterbacks Joshua Harris and Monqavious Johnson could muster only 74 passing yards between them.
But perhaps the most significant key to the win came in the fourth period on a Morehouse drive with 5:18 remaining. Leading 17-14,the Marooners had worked the oval to their own 38 yard line. On a third and seven, Johnson attempted a pass that was intercepted by CAU senior Stevon McGill. Then through a series of first downs, CAU was able to run out the remaining 4:16 of clock to claim the title and win bragging rights within the Atlanta University Center.
ELSEWHERE IN THE SIAC: Kentucky State (3-2) used the 139 passing yards and two touchdowns of senior Adam Robinson and a 135 yard, three TD performance of junior Jacquise Lockett to defeat West Virginia’s Alderson Broaddus University 49-20….Miles (2-2) broke a 7-7 deadlock at the half and outscored Benedict (2-3) 20-6 in the second to defeat the Tigers 27-13…It’s a long year for Central State (0-5) in their first full season in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and a tough one for first year coach EJ Junior. His Marauders were mauled by West Texas State 72-0. West Texas led 44-0 at the half….Lane’s (3-2) special teams blocked an 11th hour PAT and wound up upsetting Stillman (3-2,2-1 conf) 28-27….and SIAC west leader Tuskegee (4-1) stopped a drive by Fort Valley (2-3) through a fumble recovered by freshman Terrance Leatherwood to win over the eastern division leading Wildcats 21-13.
XTRA PONTS: In the future there might be two members of the Boger family wearing the stripes of NFL officials. Tray Boger, son of NFL referee Jerome Boger is said to be scoring high on the charts of evaluators scouring college games looking for potential NFL candidates to wear the black or white hat…Remember Tommie Smith and John Carlos from the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City? These two good brothers will be honored during the Circle City Classic in Indianapolis this weekend at the NCAA coaches luncheon sponsored by the Indianapolis Colts. Did you know that their “silent protest” is the sixth most memorable moment of the 20th century? The last award I can remember the two track standouts receiving some 30 years ago by SCLC Women at their annual Drum Major for Justice awards presentation here in Atlanta….And the Atlanta Classic this year proves you can’t keep a good man or a retired one down. Bill Hamilton, the longtime SID for South Carolina State was busy in the press box. He told INSIDE he was brought back to “help out.” I know the feeling Bill. I ‘m supposed to be retired myself. I guess it’s just in our blood…….
THIS WEEK’S GAMES AND PICKS
Miles over Central State- (CSO’s homecoming)
Fort Valley over Kentucky State (KSU’s homecoming)
Lane over Albany State
Tuskegee over Morehouse- Columbus Ga.
CAU over College of Faith
Stillman over Benedict (Stillman HC)
Last week’s picks: 4 right, 1 wrong
Got an item? Contact Hal -> hallamar at comcast.net