The Carolinas Football Classic is back and in full effect at Benedict College.

The Carolinas Football Classic celebrates the brilliance, impact, and athleticism of HBCUs in North and South Carolina. This year the Benedict College Tigers went head to head with the Elizabeth City State Vikings for the first time in 55 years. 

Ahead of the kick-off on Saturday, Sept. 3, fans filled the Charlie W. Johnson Stadium for the electrifying Carolinas Fanfare Tailgate Experience. The event hosted by TV personality Rocsi Diaz and celebrity DJ Jae Murphy, featured interactive experiences for fans with roll calls for D9 organizations, fans from the east or west coast, and international students. 

There was also a giveaway from Pepsi, who sponsored the Classic this year, and a word from Benedict College’s President, Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis. The event was not complete without an appearance from Mister and Miss Benedict College and their royal court, along with Mister Benedict College stepping to the mic to rap a bar. DJ Jae Murphy kept the energy high spinning records from the 90s to the early 2000s to now and hyping the crowd during an obligatory swag surf.

The event lasted from 4 pm – 6 pm, as the energy carried into game time. Benedict and Elizabeth City State battled it out for the first time since 1996, resulting in the second win for Benedict with a score of 58-14.

The key to their win according to football coach Chennis Berry, was dominating all three phases of a football game – offense, defense, and special teams. “We talk about winning all three phases,” said Berry. “There were times last year where we might play well on defense and didn’t play as well on offense, and so-so on special teams or vice versa. At the end of the day, I think all three phases found a way to win this football game.”

The University reports that Benedict racked up 550 yards of total offense; held Elizabeth City State to 243 yards of offense, 0-for-10 on third and fourth downs; and had several big plays on special teams, including a blocked punt which helped lead to a Benedict touchdown.

The Carolinas Football Classic was the next BEST thing to Homecoming, said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President and CEO of Benedict College. “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.”