Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- The Southern University band performs during halftime of the Bayou Classic Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

1 What we learned

The Bayou Classic usually brings out the best in Southern and Grambling. Whether they’re trying to finish a disappointing season on a high note or advance to the SWAC championship game, which was the case Saturday, both schools seem to respond to the stage. Grambling dug its self a 21-point hole on multiple occasions, but it came about 18 inches from climbing all the way out before the Jaguars made the final play.

2 TRENDING NOW Austin Howard has shown greater savvy than one might expect from a true freshman for most of this season. But on Saturday, he took his game to a higher level on the biggest stage he has seen. He threw several strikes for big plays, inlcuding three TDs. Though he threw a late interception that could have been very costly, he provided more than a credible threat in the passing game. Southern showed enough confidence to let him open it up early.

3 FINAL THOUGHTS It will be hard for the SWAC title game to match this one, but it might come pretty close. Forget Alcorn’s lopsided win two months ago. The Braves were at their best, and the Jaguars were at their worst. Southern has numerous key players back, and Alcorn hasn’t played its best of late. Plus, it’s hard to be a champion twice in one season.