Southern (6-5, 6-3 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference) heads into the offseason having finished third in the SWAC West division after winning the division the previous two seasons. The Jaguars’ coaches will try to take advantage of the early start to the offseason by hitting the recruiting trail to try and fill approximately two dozen openings on the roster.
Southern rolled to a 20-3 lead early in the second quarter, then saw Grambling take control the rest of the way as the Tigers won 34-23 in the 42nd Bayou Classic on Saturday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Jaguars had won the past three Bayou Classics. The loss snapped Southern’s second two-game winning streak of the season. It never won more than two in a row during a season lacking consistency.
WR Willie Quinn caught 12 passes for 137 yards and scored a touchdown on a 27-yard pass that completed the first possession of the game. Quinn had a minimal impact on the return game — 12 yards on one kickoff return — but he was Austin Howard’s primary target as Howard passed for 241 yards in being named the Jaguars’ Most Valuable Player in the Bayou Classic for the second consecutive season.
“Defensively I thought we played well enough to give ourselves a chance to win, but we turned the ball over (twice) and we scored just three points in the second half.” — Southern coach Dawson Odums on the 34-23 loss to Grambling
Keep an eye on
The lines of scrimmage. Southern was strong on both the offensive line and the defensive line this season, thanks in large part to several key seniors on both units. The Jaguars are optimistic about several young players being groomed in both units, but they’ll need to fill some holes in recruiting and continue to develop the youngsters to maintain their level of success in the trenches.
Southern committed two turnovers — one interception and one fumble — and Grambling committed none. The importance of that stat was illustrated by the closeness of several other stats. ... Both teams rushed for 183 yards. ... Grambling outgained Southern 455-424. ... Southern had 24 first downs and Grambling had 23. ... Southern possessed the ball for 30 minutes, 46 seconds and Grambling had it for 29:14. ... Both turnovers came as the Jaguars were threatening to score and stunt the momentum the Tigers enjoyed during a decisive 31-3 run between the second and fourth quarters.