TIGERS DROP HEARTBREAKER IN ATLANTA FOOTBALL CLASSIC
ATLANTA --- Tennessee State University's comeback attempt in the final seconds ended in heartbreak for the Tigers as Florida A&M stopped the Tigers on a fourth-and-goal situation to win the 2005 Atlanta Football Classic, 12-7 Saturday evening. The Tigers attempt for victory ended when Richard Hartman's pass was intercepted by Steve St. Felix at the one-yard line with 11 seconds left. The Tigers had the ball with a first-and-goal from the 3-yard line. However, the Tigers lost a yard on a rush and had a pair of incompletions before the game's final play. TSU had started a drive at its own 1-yard line with 6:40 left in the game. The Tigers made several big plays to keep the drive alive, but none was bigger than a 39-yard pass from Hartman to Burnette on a third-and-27 that put the ball at FAMU's 21-yard line. The Tigers had the stage set for the win with a bit of fortune. A Hartman pass was intercepted by FAMU's Le Juan Walker, but Tiger offensive tackle Chris Ham forced a fumble that was recovered by Gerald Morrow with 34 seconds remaining. TSU had taken a quick 7-0 lead after Hartman connected with Richard Gayle on a 62-yard scoring strike on the game's third play, just 53 seconds into the game. Eric Benson's PAT made the score 7-0 at the 14:07 mark of the first quarter. The game was a defensive battle the rest of the way. FAMU did not get on the board until scoring on a 23-yard field goal by Wesley Taylor with 18 seconds left in the first half. The Rattlers took the lead on a 23-yard pass from Chris Owens to Roosevelt Kiser on the opening drive of the second half. The Tigers had a chance to tie the game when defensive back Dominique Rodgers picked up a loose ball after the PAT attempt, but was stopped on the return inside FAMU's 20 yard line. Taylor extended FAMU's lead to 12-7 with a 42-yard field goal with 1:45 left in the third period. TSU had 264 yards to FAMU's 261. However, turnovers again plagued TSU with five as FAMU had just the one on the interception return. Hartman was 17-33-3 for 238 yards and one touchdown. Burnette had six catches for 96 yards. Wesley Holmes had 10 tackles and had one quarterback sack. TSU sacked Owens a total of seven times in the game. Frantzy Dorlean had a pair for 17 yards.