Southern has won four of its five homes game this season as it prepares to play its final one in A.W. Mumford Stadium on Saturday night.
If the Jaguars defeat Mississippi Valley State they will have a chance to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference West Division championship a berth in the league’s title game by beating Grambling in the Bayou Classic on Nov. 29.
It has been a very successful season so far and there’s a lot at stake Saturday. But there’s something missing.
Southern has not attracted a sellout crowd or anything approaching one even though it leads the SWAC in home attendance (16,294).
“We’ve been on a five-game winning streak and there hasn’t been a packed house,” said cornerback Kevin King, one of 14 seniors who will be honored Saturday. “For my last home game I’d like to see A.W. Mumford packed.”
It’s unlikely King will get his wish, something that has Jaguars coach Dawson Odums scratching his head as his team pursues a second consecutive SWAC championship.
“We’d love to see it sold out,” Odums said, “but I look at it this way: We think we have a very good product. If you turn back three, four years ago, I could see why you wouldn’t support the product. But based on where we are now and the past year I cannot see why you wouldn’t show up and support these young men as they fight their hearts out for Southern University.”
Large groups of Southern fans helped neutralize opponents’ home-field edges as the Jaguars beat Prairie View and Jackson State on the road. But the home-field edge at Mumford hasn’t been all that it could be.
“We need Jaguar Nation to be there to root us on to victory,” Odums said. “Nothing is guaranteed. So we live in the now. We’re facing a good Valley team. We would love for them to show up and help us out.”
Sophomore running back Lenard Tillery has several more home games in his future, but he’d like to see this one made memorable.
“I would love to see it packed for the seniors,” Tillery said, “just so they could say, “hey, the last time I was in A.W. Mumford Stadium the crowd was packed and it was alive and we won the game going into the Bayou Classic.”
Bayou Classic tickets on sale
Speaking of the Bayou Classic, tickets are on sale for the potential title showdown between the two longtime rivals.
Ticket information is available at www.mybayouclassic.com.
Basketball begins Friday
The Southern men’s and women’s basketball teams open their seasons with a doubleheader Friday in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
The women play Mobile College at 5:30 p.m. and the men play Louisiana Tech at 8 p.m.
Southern is offering a couple of discounts on tickets. Kids younger than 12 years old get in for free and anyone showing proof of purchasing a ticket to the football game Saturday can purchase a general admission basketball ticket for $5.
The regular ticket prices are $10 for general admission and $15 for reserved. Season ticket booklets are available for $100 (general admission) and $125 (reserved). For ticket info, contact the Southern ticket office at (225) 771-3171.
Bring Back Baseball Gala
The ninth annual Bring Back Baseball Gala to benefit the Southern baseball program and the Baton Rouge Little League teams will be held Wednesday night at L’Auberge Casino.
The social hour will begin at 6 p.m. and the banquet will begin at 7. Tickets are available at the door.
The guest speaker will be former Major League outfielder and manager Dusty Baker.
Odums said Tuesday that reserve DL Justin Woods will have arthroscopic surgery on his injured right knee and miss the rest of the season. Woods suffered the injury during practice last week.
Otherwise the Jaguars are reasonably healthy for a team that has played 10 games in 11 weeks. They will get a chance to heal more when they have their second open date between’s Saturday’s game and the Bayou Classic.