The HBCU Buzz Tailgate Takeover Was Star-Studded

Over the Labor Day holiday weekend, the inaugural Carolinas Football Classic presented by Pepsi featured two HBCUs that hadn’t competed since 1966: the Benedict College (BC) Tigers versus the Allen University Yellow Jackets. As with any HBCU football game, there were plenty of events outside of the field and HBCU Buzz was onsite to capture it all!

Photo Courtesy of Benedict College

HBCU scholars were the real winners of the weekend, as over $100,000 dollars in scholarships were awarded. Three students split $8,000 in winnings thanks to their innovative ideas presented in the 3rd Annual Think Big Now Benedict College Pitch Competition. The first place winner, Taylor Foulks, won $4,500 for the idea to create a Benedict College app to help students navigate the HBCU campus. Emori Mitchell earned second place and a $2,500 scholarship for a Service-Learning Center idea. Then the third place winner, Jahaveed George won a $1,000 scholarship for pitching a student garden that would provide fresh produce. 

Pepsi, the title sponsor of the event, donated $200,000 in support of the Classic as well as BC scholarships, the Benedict College Band of Distinction, and programs. “Pepsi is proud to serve as the presenting sponsor for the 2nd Annual Carolinas Football Classic,” said Pepsi Market Director Kourtney Moody as she presented BC President Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis with the check. She continued, “The Carolinas is the birthplace of Pepsi, and we have a long history of supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We have enjoyed a great partnership with Benedict College for over 20 plus years and we are happy to support their programs and to provide scholarships for students.”

The energy was high all weekend at the Columbia, South Carolina festivities, but Saturday’s events surrounding the game really took the cake. The morning began with the Mayor’s Brunch, where fans and community members enjoyed food, networking, and an appearance from City of Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. 

At the HBCU Buzz Tailgate Takeover, special guests Rocsi Diaz (E! News), Darren “Big Baby” Brand (Wild ‘N Out), and TV personality Krystal Garner turned the student body up before kickoff. Celebrity DJ and Jae Murphy kept the music pumping, with enough tunes to hold fans over until the upcoming halftime show featuring the Benedict College Band of Distinction and the Allen University Band of Gold. 

The game between the BC Tigers and AU Fighting Yellow Jackets at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium was highly contentious and hard to look away from! BC President Dr. Artis shared her excitement, “the Carolinas Football Classic was the next best thing to Homecoming!” Benedict College ultimately won the game with a score of 45-12, allowing the HBCU to claim a 56-year winning streak against Allen University. Dr. Artis continued, “what a wonderful opportunity to bring together two neighboring HBCUs along with our alumni, students and fans all in the name of scholarship and sportsmanship.” 

Happy 150+ anniversary to the Benedict College Tigers.