The Atlanta Classic will be a shot at redemption for both the Southern University Jaguars and the Florida A&M football team.
After giving up 70 points to the University of South Florida Bulls, the Rattlers will look to improve a run defense that surrendered 268 yards??????total offense. The team will also try to rebound after back to back losses.
Southern also dropped its last game, losing to Jackson State University 28-24 at A.W. Mumford Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.
Prior to 2001, the teams played for 56 consecutive years (1946-2001). The rivalry was resurrected in 2007 after a brief hiatus.
FAMU (1-2, 0-2 in the MEAC) has won five of the past seven matchups against the Jaguars, the most recent being a 52-49 shootout in 2008. The Jaguars’ (1-2, 1-1 in the SWAC) last win in the series came in 2007, when they defeated the Rattlers 33-27.
This is the 62nd meeting between the teams. FAMU leads the series 35-25-1.
The Rattlers and Jaguars have won a combined 20 black national championships, ranking second and fourth respectively. Grambling University occupies the top spot with 14 championships.
“We are looking forward to the 100 black men in Atlanta Bank of America Atlanta Classic and playing Southern in that great venue,” head coach Joe Taylor said. “These two schools go back to 1946. During the days of Gaither and Mumford, this really became a big time rivalry.”
Linebacker and the team’s leading tackler, Demarius Folsom, said the defense will have to focus on play-caller sophomore ????
“They rely on their QB. He is the key to their offense,” Folsom said. “He is a patient guy who doesn’t force things. So, we have to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t beat us with his arm and his legs.”
Folsom added that the wounds from last week’s loss won’t be soon forgotten.
“We learned a lot from last week, even if it didn’t show,” Folsom said. “It’s really going to show when we get back to our conference schedule that we worked hard and corrected some of those mistakes.”
The Atlanta Classic has been one of the highest attended games for both teams since the event’s inception. Early reports suggest that ticket sales for this year’s game have already surpassed last year’s 54,202 spectators.
The game will be held in the Georgia Dome at 3:30 p.m. and will air on the Rattler Sports Network.