Tuskegee, Alabama A&M meet in 25th Annual Circle City Classic
Posted By: on August 06, 2008 |
INDIANAPOLIS-Indiana Black Expo Inc. and Indiana Sports Corporation recently announced that Lucas **** Stadium will host the 25th anniversary of the Circle City Classic as the Alabama A&M University Bulldogs and the Tuskegee University Golden Tigers will collide on the gridiron.
The game, scheduled to be played at 4 p.m., Oct. 4, promises to be a classic between heated rivals who will be meeting for the first time since 1999. The Bulldogs and Golden Tigers have met on the gridiron 45 times in their history with Alabama A&M holding a slight advantage with a 22-19-4 record.
"The 25th anniversary of the Circle City Classic will truly be a celebration as we move into the state-of-the-art Lucas **** Stadium," Susan Williams, president of Indiana Sports Corporation, said. "Our longstanding partnership with Indiana Black Expo continues to be a success as we enhance the city of Indianapolis through sport and culture."
Since 1984, Circle City Classic fans have witnessed some of football's best athletes, including Alabama A&M alum Robert Mathis, perform on one of football's greatest stages. Mathis, now an Indianapolis Colts defensive end, had four sacks for the Bulldogs as they defeated Southern University, 27- 11, in the 2002 Classic.
Jerry Rice, the NFL's all-time leading pass receiver and MVP of Super Bowl XXIII, caught eight passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns as his Mississippi Valley State team won the inaugural Circle City Classic over Grambling State, 48-36, in 1984.
Former NFL All-Pro quarterback Steve McNair passed for 433 yards and three scores when he played for Alcorn State in the Scalping Braves' 46-27 win over Howard in the 1991 Classic.
"The 25th anniversary of the Circle City Classic is going to be an outstanding and large event in the new Lucas **** Stadium," said William Mays, co-chairman, Circle City Classic, "and I am looking forward to seeing 50,000 fans in the state-of-the-art stadium for the Classic."
"This brainchild of Indiana Black Expo icon Charles Williams has survived economic challenges and social change," Tanya Bell, president and CEO of Indiana Black Expo Inc., said, "because it is the kind of important, enduring event that everyone embraces- whether or not they attended a historically black college or university. Circle City Classic is a 'feel good' event with a purpose."
Alabama A&M returns to Indianapolis for its third Classic appearance after splitting two prior Classic games. The Bulldogs most recently played in the 2002 Classic when they defeated Southern University 27-11. Alabama A&M's only other trip to the Classic came in 1990 when they lost, 27-20, to Grambling State. In addition to Mathis, Alabama A&M boasts a NFL Hall of Famer, John Stall-worth.
As a Bulldog, Stallworth was an All-Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference receiver in 1972 and 1973, before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1974. He was named to four Pro Bowls and won four Super Bowl championships. Mathis plays defensive end for the Indianapolis Colts, who selected him in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He led the Colts with 10 sacks during Indianapolis' Super Bowl championship season in 2006.
The 2008 Bulldogs are led on defense by NCAA Division I-AA First Team All-American defensive back Al Donaldson. Donaldson was tied for first in interceptions in NCAA Division IAA in 2007 with nine, and led the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in pass breakups. The Alabama A&M offense will be led by tailback Ulysses Banks, who was named to the 2007 SWAC All- Conference Team. Banks led the Bulldogs with 164 carries for 887 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns in 2007.
In his sixth season at the helm of Alabama A&M's football program, Anthony Jones has led the school to its first SWAC championship (2006) and set the school record for most victories in a season (nine), twice. The 2006 SWAC Coach of the Year holds the highest winning percentage in school history (.700) after going 49-21 in his first six years.
Tuskegee University is making its first appearance in the Classic. The Golden Tigers' football program is the "Winningest Program Among Historically Black Colleges and Universities" (HBCU) with a 601-334-51 overall record. Founded by Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee is the 2007 Black College defending national champion.
The Golden Tigers have seven defensive starters back from last year's national championship team and six returning starters on offense, led by quarterback Jacary Atkinson. Atkinson, the 2007 Alabama Sports Writers Association Small College Athlete of the Year, led the Tuskegee offense to a 12-0 finish as he compiled a schoolrecord 2,979 passing yards and 34 touchdowns. He also ran for 584 yards and seven scores.
Third-year coach Willie J. Slater leads the Golden Tigers into the 25th Annual Circle City Classic. Slater, who has been named NCAA Division II Assistant Coach of the Year five times, has won five NCAA Division II national championships in his 29 years of coaching.
The game highlights the American Family Insurance Classic Weekend and includes the alwaysspectacular Caterpillar Battle of the Bands.
Tickets for the Circle City Classic can be purchased by calling (317) 237-5222 or visiting www.circlecityclassic.com. Prices range from $10-$45.
For more information, visit www.circlecityclassic.com or www.indianasportscorp.com.
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