Bayou Classic preview: GSU vs. Southern Jaguars

The Southern University Jaguars (5-2 SWAC, 5-4 Overall) are leading the Bayou Classic series 21-20, but the Grambling State University Tigers (7-0 SWAC, 7-2 Overall) seem to have the upper hand in this year’s match up. 

Grambling sealed the deal for a spot in the Southwestern Athletic Conference Championship against the University of Arkansas Pine-Bluff Golden Lions on Saturday with a 49-31 win in their homecoming, making it the Tigers’ third homecoming win of the season and eighth consecutive and overall win of the season. 

This win moved their FCS poll standing from No. 25 to No. 22. With only one game left in regular season, the Tigers are the only undefeated team in conference play.  

The annual Bayou Classic is one of the most important rivalries of the season according to alumni, fans, students, players, and coaches.

 “This game has separated families,” said head coach Broderick Fobbs in Monday’s press conference, “it’s also brought families together. So it’s a good event and we’re looking forward to it…our kids are ready for that particular game.” 

Last year’s Bayou Classic was a nail-biter as the Tigers were literally inches from winning a trip to Houston to face the then No. 1 SWAC football team, the Alcorn State University Braves.

This year, the Braves have dropped that spot with loses from both Grambling and Prairie View, however, they are leading the East and most likely will be heading back to the SWAC Championship in Houston this year to defend their title.

The Jaguars, on the other hand, are third in the Western Division of the SWAC and since the Tigers have already won Western Division, they will essentially be playing for pride. After losing No. 33 Devon Gales earlier in the season due to a spine injury, this win would probably mean a lot to the team, the Jaguar fans and alumni.

This seems unlikely due to Johnathan Williams’ machine gun arm and his ability to put the ball in the hands of Martez Carter, Jestin Kelly, Chad Williams, Verlan Hunter and Chester Rogers. 

The Tigers must not underestimate the Jaguars’ secret weapon, running back Lenard Tillery, who averages 110.4 yards per game.

The game will be held in New Orleans in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Kick-off and live broadcast on NBC will be at 4:00 p.m. central time.