The Clark Atlanta Panthers won their fourth game of the season on Saturday night, 44-36, against Albany State University. Clark Atlanta is now 2-2 (4-4 overall) in conference play and remains a game behind Benedict, who defeated Morehouse College 29-26 in double overtime on Saturday.
The victory was important for the Panthers and may help boost their confidence after losing three games in a row.
The Panthers got their first lead of the game on a 39-yard field goal by Carlos Saldana early in the fourth quarter. The Clark Atlanta defense had to find a way to keep the Rams offense out the end zone one final time.
“I kept telling these guys that we’ve got it,” said Clark Atlanta head coach Kevin Ramsey. “We just keep playing our game; we’ve got the weapons, we swarm on defense. This is the result.”
Albany State redshirt freshman quarterback Chancellor Johnson (13-28 for 261 yards and two interceptions) had pulled off a successful drive on the previous Rams possession, throwing a 50-yard pass to receiver Mike Green (four receptions for 104 yards) before running it in from a yard away to bring his team with one score.
Clark Atlanta would have one of their few second-half scoreless possessions and give the ball back to Albany State with enough time on the clock to spoil the Homecoming game. It would be up to their defense to pull out a must-win game if the Panthers are to contend for a division title.
Johnson would complete a 10-yard pass to senior receiver Quadrey Simmons on third and nine to move down to the Clark Atlanta 25 yard line with less than a minute to play. Panther senior defensive back Aquimal Burton put an end to all of the drama with the Panthers second interception of the fourth quarter. Junior defensive back Jaquatin Victrum secured the first a couple of possessions earlier deep in Rams territory.
The interception effectively ended the game, but it was a series of plays before halftime that took the momentum away from the Rams and gave it back to the Panthers. The Panthers would use that momentum to outscore their homecoming guests 30-14 during the second half.
With a 22-7 lead and everything going their way, Albany State let its guard down with 1:07 remaining in the first half. Clark executed a six play, 65-yard drive including a 10-yard connection from redshirt junior quarterback Johnathon McCrary to sophomore receiver Johnathan Sanders before finding senior Deandre Jackson for a touchdown with no time remaining in the first half.
Albany State could be seen walking off the field with looks of dejection despite having an eight-point lead. Those looks would be omens of what was to come during the second half.
During the second half, McCrary found Sanders over the middle for his fifth touchdown pass of the game to go along with 357 yards on 28-46 pass attempts. Panthers senior tight end Rodney Morris would catch two of those McCrary touchdown passes while Jackson would catch a team-high six receptions for 92 yards, also a team high.
Albany State was held to a single offensive touchdown during the second half, the other touchdown coming via a fumble recovery by sophomore defensive back Terrence Harris that was returned 43 yards up the Panthers sideline for a score with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter.
Clark Atlanta will be back on the road on Thursday night as they play in Fairfield, Alabama at Miles College in a non-division affair before returning home to play at Morehouse in their season finale.
Morehouse falls in Double Overtime, 29-26, to Benedict College
It was Homecoming weekend at both Morehouse College and their sister college Spelman College and all was well for the thousands attending the events on and off campus. All excepot the annual football game which the Maroon Tigers lost in dramatic fashion, 29-26, in double overtime to the visiting Benedict College Tigers. The win puts 3-1 Benedict College firmly in second place in the SIAC East (tied with Albany State) while also putting Morehouse in last place with a 1-3 conference record.
Down 13-0 after the first quarter, Morehouse fell even further behind at halftime, 19-0, before the defense woke up and held Benedict to 0 points during the second half. A three-yard touchdown run by freshman quarterback Michael Sims (12-26 for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns and an interception) and a 33-yard field goal by fellow freshman Fernando Sdelamora brough the Maroon Tigers within nine points. A fourth quarter 15-yard touchdown connection from Sims to sophomore receiver Ricci Nuckles (along with a successful extra point attempt by Sdelamore) would leave Morehouse down 19-17 with less than five minutes to play. A safety by senior defensive end Bundrea Conway tied the game at 19.
Both teams would score during the opening overtime period with Ryan Edwards catching a 15-yard pass from Sims before Benedict tied the game and senior kicker and Sandersville, Georgia native Tory Mimbs won it on a 43-yard field goal.
The Maroon Tigers (3-5 ) will get a chance to ruin another team’s season this week in their next game at Fort Valley State on Saturday. The Wildcats are 2-1 at home this season and are currently on a three-game winning streak including a 41-24 win at Clark Atlanta University on Oct. 7.
Morehouse and Clark Atlanta will play their annual rivalry game on Nov. 4 at B.T. Harvey Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.