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Tigers relinquish Bayou Classic crown for first time since 2014

By Joshua Bell
On November 27, 2018

GSU quarterback Geremy Hickbottom.

New Orleans, La. |   Grambling State football season came to an end in front of a record-breaking crowd of 67,871 at the 45th annual Bayou Classic, as the Tigers fell short to Southern University 38-28, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

With the win the Jaguars conquered the SWAC West Division Championship, while advancing to the SWAC Championship game against Alcorn State University.

GSU has been on the winning side of the Bayou Classic, as well as SWAC Champions since the 2014 season.

“My hat goes off to Coach Odums and his staff, they did a great job,” GSU head coach Broderick Fobbs said. “I’m proud of our kids, the way we fought back after being down 31-13, that’s the heart of a champion.

Grambling (6-5 overall) saw their first possession end with a Garrett Urban punt, that was blocked by Kordell Caldwell and recovered in the end zone, to give the Jaguars a quick 7-0 lead with 13 minutes left in the opening quarter.

The Tigers responded with a 10 play 95-yard drive, after quarterback Geremy Hickbottom found Darrell Clark in the back of the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown pass to tie the game 7-7 to end the first quarter.

Southern (7-3, overall) broke the tie with a Cesar Barajas 47-yard field goal to give the Jaguars a 10-7 advantage.

After forcing a Grambling punt, the Jaguars quarterback Ladarius Skelton connected with Trey Smith for a 23-yard touchdown to go ahead 17-7 with 2:47 remaining in the second quarter.

The Tigers responded on their next possession as Urban hit a career-long 44-yard field goal to cut the Jaguars lead to 17-10 at the end of the first half.

Grambling State came out of the half and forced a Jaguar fumble that set up another Urban field goal to cut the margin to 17-13.

Southern answered back after Skelton connected with Kendall Catalon for an 80-yard touchdown pass to give the Jaguars a 24-13 lead midway through the third quarter.

GSU turned the ball over on downs, the Jaguars capitalized off the turnover marching 65-yards after Skelton found Randall Menard to extend the lead to 31-13.

Grambling answered the Jaguars scoring drive with a 12-play drive that ended with a Hickbottom 4-yard touchdown run.

After a successful two-point attempt from Hickbotom to Quientin Guice the Tigers trimmed the deficit to 31-21, with 12 minutes remaining in the final quarter.

GSU continued fighting forcing a Skelton fumble, that lead to a Hickbottom rushing touchdown to cut the Jaguars lead to 31-28.

However, Southern put the game away on the next series after reaching the end zone to go ahead 38-28 in the final minutes of the game.

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