1. What we learned
These teams can play a little defense after all. Both Southern and Grambling have been defined primarily by their high-scoring offenses this season, but their defenses have been inconsistent and overshadowed even when they have played well. The Jaguars had an early flurry, scoring 20 points in the first 18 minutes, and the Tigers scored 14 points late in the second quarter and a touchdown early in the third to grab the lead. But the teams combined for 40 fewer points and 116 fewer yards than last year’s Classic shootout.
2. Trending now
Recruiting. Southern has a lot of talent returning, but it is losing two dozen seniors, including several starters. After losing to each of the top three teams in the SWAC — Grambling, Alcorn State and Prairie View — the Jaguars need a strong recruiting class to keep up with those programs. The Tigers have a chance to win the SWAC title next week, but recruiting will be big for them as well as they and the Jaguars have raised the bar to where the Bayou Classic participants are accustomed to being.
3. Final thoughts
Football is a pretty simple game. Grambling is the more experienced team and has been the better team all season, but the talent difference between these teams is minimal. When that’s the case, mistakes usually make the difference. The Jaguars committed two turnovers and the Tigers none. Both turnovers came on the Grambling side of the field, one near the goal line and the other on a long pass into the end zone. Both took place as Grambling was taking charge, and they were the biggest factor in the outcome.