BATON ROUGE, La. – “At the beginning of the year, the players understood one thing: We wanted to win the championship, but we wanted that Bayou Classic more than anything else,” former Southern head football coach Pete Richardson said.
During his 17-year tenure on the Bluff, Richardson only lost the rivalry game five times. One happened in 2005, when the game was moved out of New Orleans for the first time since its birth due to Hurricane Katrina.
Saturday will be the second time in the Bayou Classic’s history the game kicks off outside the 504, and Coach Richardson has seen similarities between the current spring season and the 2005 game.
“I thought it’s a direct parallel of the two games because almost the same thing happened. We was planning on going to New Orleans. At the last second in order to have the game, they had to move it to Shreveport. I think, because of the weather or the virus that done hit, the parallels are identical,” Richardson said.
Although dubbed the Bayou Classic in 1974, the game’s birth happened the year prior, when the Southern-Grambling State matchup grew so large Independence Stadium couldn’t accommodate the crowd. The game will have a homecoming Saturday afternoon.
“I think the significance is great because if you weren’t gonna play in New Orleans the idea was to go back to Shreveport to play. Initially, the game started off up there,” the four-time Black college football championship coach added.
The venue has been a key component of this year’s season finale, but the fact the Bayou Classic will happen during a spring football season due to the pandemic has also become a milestone.
“I’m thankful they’re going to be able to have an opportunity to play that football game,” Richardson said.
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