Malcolm Crockett couldn’t leave Baton Rouge without one last goodbye.
The Southern running back played his final game in A.W. Mumford Stadium on Saturday as the Jaguars wrapped up their home schedule with Alabama A&M, and Crockett made certain to make his finale count.
Crockett produced 99 yards on 14 carries against the Bulldogs, including a pair of touchdowns. It was his third-highest rushing total in the two seasons since he transferred from Pittsburgh.
“This is my last home game at Mumford, and I felt I needed to go out with a bang,” Crockett said.
Crockett wasn’t the only senior saying goodbye.
Twenty-three seniors celebrated their last outing with Southern, and 15 of them started against A&M. Players like Allen Spry, Nico Talbert, Eric Janeau aren’t considered usual starters but played the first offensive series, which ended with a 26-yard touchdown run by Crockett.
“I told them, ‘Guys, it’s going to hit you one day — maybe not today, but it’s going to hit you when you tie them shoes up for the last time,” Southern coach Dawson Odums said. “For them to endure four to five years and give Southern University their time, I respect that and I honor that, and there’s no better way to do that than for those guys to start their last game at home.”
More than a game
A week after the death of his grandmother, Southern defensive end Aaron Tiller honored her the best way he knew how — with good football.
Tiller had three sacks, five tackles and forced two fumbles in an emotional game for the sophomore.
“Today was just a day where I went out there and forgot everything and played as if she were out there in the stands with me,” Tiller said. “Today, I just dedicated this game to her and the seniors.
“I have her name (on my shoulder) and it was throbbing before the pregame, and I just felt her presence with me.”
His performance didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates, either. Senior linebacker Daniel Brown called Tiller “the future” of the defense.
“There’s a lot of young talent that’s going to be there after I’m gone, so I’m looking forward to seeing what them boys are going to do next year,” Brown said.
All three quarterbacks played against Alabama A&M. It’s the seventh time this season starter Austin Howard and backups Deonte Shorts and Jarrad Hayes all took snaps.
The only game in which Howard took every snap for the Jaguars was in a 45-34 win at Alabama State.
Quarterback is one of the few positions not affected by graduation heading into next season. Shorts is the oldest of the group as a third-year sophomore.
Return of the champions
Southern honored its past, acknowledging the 1995 team that won the black college national championship before kickoff.
The ’95 Jaguars were the second of five Southwestern Athletic Conference championship teams under former coach Pete Richardson. Richardson was on hand with several former players Saturday.