Courtesy – gsutigers.com
NEW ORLEANS, La. l The Grambling State University football team led by as much as 18 points but a turnaround second quarter for Southern University left the G-Men ending their season with a 30-28 loss at the 46th Annual Bayou Classic.
“Our kids showed the heart of a champion. My hat’s off to Southern University. They played an awesome game; both teams played awesome… A really good and clean ball game,” said Grambling State head coach Broderick Fobbs.
This evening’s win was a victory times two for Southern, who will represent the Western Division of the Southwestern Athletic Conference in the 2019 SWAC Football Championship game, to be held on Saturday, Dec. 7 at Spinks-Casem Stadium, the playing field of the 2019 SWAC Eastern Division Champions and defending SWAC Champs Alcorn State University.
With an attendance of 68,314 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Southern received the ball after Grambling State’s decision to defer in the second half. The Jaguars struggled with moving closer to the end zone to after incomplete passes. After successful passing from Geremy Hickbottom to Kobe Ross, Raylon Richardson and Keilon Elder, a touchdown was nearing for Grambling State. Hickbottom’s 12-yard throw to Devante Davis was good, and Grambling State was first to enter the scoring column. Following the extra point kick by Miguel Mendez, the score was 7-0.
Southern was able to get as close as the two-yard line but was unable to record a touchdown in their second scoring drive. A 19-yard field goal by Cesar Barajas gave the Jaguars points on the board with 2:53 left in the first quarter.
After Southern fumbled the kickoff and Kash Foley recovered, Grambling State had the ball placed at the 24 and were close to notching another touchdown. The Tigers stretched the point margin from three to 11 after Corey Russell’s 27-yard run in the end zone and Mendez’s PAT.
The momentum for Grambling State kept rolling after Elder’s one-yard touchdown run. With more than eight minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Tigers were now up; 21-3.
After a three-yard pass from Ladarius Skelton to Hunter Register and an extra point kick by Barajas, Southern was able to tally their first touchdown.
The last few minutes of the half proved to be interesting after an incomplete pass was challenged and two different rulings were made. The call by officials left Southern with one-yard away from a second touchdown with a second left on the clock until halftime. Quick feet by Jarod Sims gave the Jaguars the scoring they needed, and Southern only trailed by 4; 21-17.
With less than five minutes remaining in the third, Southern took the lead from Grambling State’s grasp after Skelton’s pass for six yards to Register was good, giving the Jaguars their third straight touchdown. After the PAT, Southern led; 24-21.
Grambling State saw itself in the red zone and eligible for another touchdown after Hickbottom’s pass to Lyndon Rash was successful. With only four seconds expired from the time, Hickbottom ran for three yards into the end zone, giving Grambling State their fourth touchdown.
Southern answered with a touchdown; Sims for 36 yards, unguarded. The PAT was blocked, and the Jaguars were up by two; 30-28.
Grambling State made attempts to get closer down the field but came up short and was left with no choice but to have Mendez kick for 33 yards. The field goal was no good, and the ball was given back to Southern.
With a fourth down and the ball on the 38, Southern returned the ball back to Grambling State and less than three minutes remained in the game.
Grambling State had possession of the ball in the final minute of the game and made it as close to the 23 yard line. Ten seconds remained and although the Tigers were on their fourth down and only needed one yard to securing another first down, the Grambling State punt team was called to the field. Mendez’s kick was no good, and the Jaguars would exit the field as the winning team.