The seasons of both Grambling University and Southern University have led to this final game of the regular season, and that is the Bayou Classic. Both teams enter into this game undefeated in the SWAC West division with the winner of this game going to the SWAC championship game. Grambling enters the game with a 9-1 record and are currently ranked 14 in the national FCS polls. The Jaguars enter this game with an 8-2 record and looking to head to that championship game that follows the bayou classic. Both teams bring explosive offenses to the table as well as strong defenses. The game would go in favor or Grambling as they would go on to win by a score of 52-30. This is the 9th straight win for the tigers who now look to win the entire SWAC.
In the first quarter of play, southern started their first drive with good field position from a penalty from the kickoff. After making a quick dive down the field, Austin Howard completed an 18 yard pass to Willie Quinn for the first touchdown of the game. The extra point was missed by Albuquerque which made the score 6-0 after the first drive. Grambling received the ball and made a quick run for the opposite side of the field as Kincade threw a 58 yard pass to Jordan Jones. From there after a few plays, Martez Carter ran in an 11 yard score for Grambling; the extra point was made and Tigers were ahead of the Jaugars 7-6. The following drive by the jaguars ended up in a sigh of relief for Grambling fans.
Southern drove the ball down with some great plays both on the ground and through the air, but when southern was knocking on the door of a touchdown, southern quarterback Howard lost the ball a few inches short of the end zone and the play resulted in a touchback and was given to Grambling. Grambling fans would go in an uproar a few minutes later as a pass by Howard of Southern would be intercepted by Pouncey to give the tigers the ball at around mid-field. Grambling would capitalize on that interception as Verlan Hunter would catch a pass from Chad Williams for the touchdown that would give Grambling a 14-6 lead over Southern; this would be the score when the first quarter came to an end.
As the second quarter began, Devante Kincade has shown to be a force in this game, as he would keep the ball and run for a first down, and make a completion that would put the tigers a few yards before the end zone. The tigers fell short of the touchdown but settled instead for a field goal that put the tigers up 17-6. Later in the quarter, the jaguars had the ball and would be given to Lenard Tillery who would run for 85 yards for a touchdown that would make the score 17-13 with a few minutes left in the first half. The first half would end with a score of 17-13.
Halftime at the Bayou Classic was filled with an entertaining performance by both bands. These performances were exciting to watch and had all fans on their feet. In the third quarter, Grambling received the kick, then the tigers would make their way down the field on running plays. Jestin Kelly would run several plays as well as Kincade, but it was Kincade who would run 45 yards for the score and would extend the lead to 24-13. The next drive by the jaguars put them close to the endzone but the tiger defense stayed strong and stopped the jaguars for 4 plays and caused a turnover on downs.
With the ball back in the hands of the tigers, it took a few plays for Martez Carter to score a 66 yard touchdown run to make the score 31-13. When Grambling regained possession of the football, they quickly put themselves back into the endzone with 3 plays needed to do so the touchdown came from Lyndemian Brooks who ran in for the 34 yard score. The game began to look strongly in favor of Grambling at this point. Southern would get the ball deep in Grambling territory from a fumble recovery and would score form there. The score came from a touchdown pass to Tillery. At the end of the third quarter Grambling would lead 38-20.
The fourth quarter would begin with the ball in Grambling’s possession. A few passes from Kincade would lead to a touchdown when he connected to Chad Williams for a 7 yard score. This made the tiger lead to 25 points ahead of Southern. The tigers later fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Southern close to the goal line. Southern would not be able to get the touchdown but would get the field goal. The very next play had the jaguars kicking off to the tigers. The kickoff return was brought back for 88 yards and a touchdown by Carter. With a little time left in the game Southern went down the field and scored with seconds left on a pass to Piro. The game would end with a final score of 52-30. Grambling has been crowned the SWAC West champions and will face Alcorn State the following week in the SWAC championship game. The tigers look to avenge last year’s lost to Alcorn in the SWAC title game.