Albany State University sophomore kicker Brandon Hamilton nailed four field goals to lead the Golden Rams to a 19-13 victory over the Clark Atlanta University Panthers on Saturday in the second annual Rumble in the Swamp Classic at Memorial Stadium in Waycross, Ga.
More than 7,500 fans watched as the Golden Rams, who clinched first place in the East Division in last week’s win over Morehouse College, move closer to the division championship and an appearance in the inaugural SIAC championship title game on Nov. 12.
The win improves No. 25 ASU to 6-2 overall and 4-1 in SIAC play, while the Panthers drop to 2-6 overall and 1-4.
After a scoreless first quarter, the Golden Ram and Panthers exchanged field goals in the second and third quarters. Early in the second quarter, Hamilton kicked a 21-yard field to put three points on the scoreboard for the Golden Rams, capping an eight-play, 63-yard drive. Clark Atlanta answered with a field goal, a 40-yarder by Kenuel Lawrence with 9:20 on the clock to tie the game 3-3. Later in the quarter, the Rams drove 44 yards on eight plays to set up Hamilton’s second field goal from 35 yards to increase ASU’s lead to 6-3. With less than a minute before halftime, Hamilton nailed his third field goal, a 37-yarder, capping a five-play, 38-yard drive.
Clark Atlanta marched eight plays on 54 yards and picked up the only points in the third quarter on Lawrence’s 30-yard field goal, closing ASU’s lead to 9-6. On the ensuing kickoff, Adrian Alexander returned the ball 60 yards to the Clark Atlanta 33 yard line to set up a scoring drive for the Rams with 2:45 on the clock. Eight plays and 33 yards later, the Golden Rams increased their lead to 16-6 when senior quarterback Stanley Jennings connected with junior tight end Cessel Taylor on a 5-yard pass and Tory Torstenson’s PAT with 13:55 on the clock in the fourth quarter.
With 5:23 on the clock, Hamilton booted his fourth field goal from 28 yards out after a six-play, 65-yard drive, sealing the victory for the Golden Rams. But Clark Atlanta wouldn’t give up and marched 65 yards on three plays to score on a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyree Williams to Darrin McPherson with 4:40 on the clock.
In addition to his game- and career-high four field goals, Hamilton had six kicks for 359 yards, an average of 59.8 yards per kick. Jennings, who led the Golden Rams to 367 total offensive yards, completed 12-of-32 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Luther Edwards led ASU rushers with 52 yards on nine carries, and Orion Ponder caught five passes for 109 yards for the Golden Rams.
Williams passed for 134 yards, completing 6-of-21 passes, while Bryan Mann completed 9-of-24 for 88 yards. Rashad Lewis rushed for 22 yards on nine carriers, and McPherson had 105 yards on five receptions.
The Golden Rams’ “Dirty Blue” defense, led by senior defensive back Rashad McRae, held the Panthers to 243 total offensive yards, including 21 rushing yards. McRae recorded eight tackles (five solo), with two tackles for losses. Freshman linebacker Larry Whitfield added eight tackles, while senior defensive back Jamarkus Gaskins had five tackles, a sack and a half, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery. Kiece Crite led the Panthers’ defense with 12 tackles (six solo) and Ricky Moore added eight.
The Golden Rams will celebrate homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 29, against the Benedict College Tigers. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at the ASU Coliseum.