SHREVEPORT, La. (BRPROUD.com) – Southern faced a Grambling team battered with COVID-19 cases who hadn’t played since March 20th, and the 47th annual Bayou Classic showed how stacked the odds were in the Blue and Gold’s favor.
The Jaguars defeated Grambling 49-7, and the 42-point win became the largest margin of victory in the history of the classic series. Saturday’s regular season finale was also the biggest win for Southern against Grambling since 1939, when the Jaguars defeated the Tigers 53-7.
“I think this is the first game where, start to finish, there was no doubt who the best team was on the field, and we’ve been improving since our loss to UAPB. You’re seeing that dominant effect that we think we’re capable of displaying each and every week that we go out on the field,” Southern head coach Dawson Odums said.
“They were more talented than we were today; and I think that they were more physical than we were today; and they were the better team than we were today. We just feel that we got caught with our pants down, and that’s part of it,” Grambling head coach Broderick Fobbs stated.
During his post-game presser, Fobbs said the Tigers lost 16 starters during the course of the season, and starting quarterback Geremy Hickbottom entering the NCAA transfer portal didn’t help Grambling’s offense.
Southern clamped the Tigers until the third quarter, when the Jaguars were already up 35-0. The team has its pass rush to thank for the dominant showing. The defensive front recorded four-first half sacks, including Jordan Lewis who sacked Elijah Walker on the third play of the game.
The offense also shined. The Blue and Gold reached the end zone in each of its first three drives, and the team went into halftime with a 28-0 lead.
Quarterback Ladarius Skelton alternated with fellow veteran John Lampley, but the Arkansas native made the most of his time on the field. Skelton finished with 178 total offensive yards and two rushing touchdowns, earning his third straight Bayou Classic MVP.
“I never stopped believing in him. I’m going always believe in him. This is one head coach that’ll never give up on ’em. As long as they playing for Southern University, I’m going love ’em, as long as they under my tutelage, and try to help them become better young men,” Odums said of Skelton.
Skelton bounced back throughout the spring 2021 season. He was benched during the Jaguars’ loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff, but he recovered and, alongside Lampley led the Jaguars’ offense to three straight wins, where the team averaged 44.67 points-per-game.
The Bayou Classic was another instance of the two signal callers producing for Southern, and even though he walked away with the MVP, Skelton didn’t expect the honor.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going get MVP. I play every game like it’s just another game, and I just go out there and execute what I need to execute. I try my best to do what I have to do,” Skelton said.
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