By: Lynwood Albert Jr.
BR Weekly Press Sports
NEW ORLEANS, La. – Southern beat Grambling 34-17 in the 49th Bayou Classic.
Slow and steady wins the race and despite Southern starting off slow offensively, the Jaguars picked up the pace in the second quarter and continued to get more and more aggressive as the game progressed.
Grambling got off to a quick offensive flow but couldn’t take advantage of their first possession as Garrett Urban missed a 47-yard field goal.
However, on Grambling’s second possession of the game senior wide receiver Lyndon Rash scored a 4-yard passing touchdown to give Grambling an early 7-0 lead.
Midway through the second quarter running back Karl Ligon scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown for Southern to tie the game at 7-7.
Garrett Urban made a 44-yard field goal near the end of the second quarter to put Grambling back in front 10-7.
With 25 seconds remaining, freshman running back Kendric Rhymes scored a 5-yard rushing touchdown to give Southern a 14-10 halftime lead.
In the opening possession of the second half, Grambling took a 17-14 lead after quarterback Julian Calvez scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown.
That would be the only scoring drive for the remainder of the third quarter, but in the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Jaguars recaptured the lead and never relinquished it when BeSean McCray scored a 22-yard rushing touchdown putting Southern ahead 21-17 with 13:30 remaining.
Later in the fourth, Calvez fumbled the football which was scooped up by free safety Jordan Carter who ran it back for a 48-yard touchdown increasing the Jaguars lead to 28-17.
The Jaguars fierce defensive plays wasn’t over with just yet and with 2:58 left in the game defensive back Kriston Davis intercepted Calvez and ran it back 42 yards for a pick 6.
Joshua Griffin missed the extra point field goal attempt, thus giving the game a final score of 34-17.
McCray finished the game by completing 7-of-17 passes for 75 yards and rushing for 93 yards. McCray’s performance for the Jaguars helped him win his first Bayou Classic MVP award.
Southern dominated Grambling and now takes the lead 25-24 in the all-time Bayou Classic series. With the win the Jaguars clinched the SWAC Western Division Title and will head back to Mississippi for the SWAC Championship game.
On October 29th Southern lost to the invincible and undefeated 11-0 Jackson State University by a score of 35-0, but this time both teams will be playing for something much bigger.
The SWAC championship game will be held on Saturday, December 3rd at 3 p.m. at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN2.