Photos: The sights, celebrations and big plays of another thrilling Bayou Classic _lowres

Advocate staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Grambling wide receiver Chad Williams beats Southern cornerback Danny Johnson to the end zone for a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the 42nd annual Bayou Classic at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Gambling won 34-23.

Despite what many traditional thinkers may say, Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs has never cared much about how long his team possesses the ball.

He’s more concerned with how fast they can score.

Grambling’s quick-strike approach on offense — led by coordinator Eric Dooley, a longtime Southern assistant coach was a major reason the Tigers overcame a 17-point deficit and rallied for a 34-23 win over the Jaguars in Saturday’s 42nd Bayou Classic.

“With our offense, we’re always in the game,” Fobbs said. “We did a really good job of mixing in the run with the pass, but we always look to score quickly when we can.”

After trailing 20-17 at halftime, Grambling opened the second half with a 13-play drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Grambling quarterback Johnathan Williams, but only took four-plus minutes off the clock.

Both teams struggled to get anything going the rest of the third quarter, but Grambling completed a four-play drive to open the fourth quarter, heaving a 54-yard bomb to Chad Williams to extend the team’s lead to 31-20.

Five of the Tigers’ six scoring drives took less than 4:10 off of the clock.

“With the players that are surrounding me, I’m very confident in them,” Williams said. “We take pride, as an offense, in scoring every time we touch the field, and we played really well today.”

Southern scored on a 27-yard touchdown pass to Willie Quinn on its first possession of the game, and after a Grambling field goal, the Jaguars put together another touchdown drive that ended with running back Lenard Tillery scoring from 2 yards out to put his team up 13-3.

Southern extended its lead in the second quarter after a 15-play drive ended with quarterback Austin Howard scoring on a 13-yard touchdown run to put them up 20-3 with 12:08 left before halftime.

It was the first time Grambling trailed by 17 points or more in Southwestern Athletic Conference play all season.

“Our guys played with a ton of composure the entire game, regardless what the score was,” Fobbs said. “We knew that if we continued to get points at the end of our drives that we would eventually start chipping away at the lead.”

After struggling to get things going early, Grambling scored on its first possession of the second quarter with a 2-yard pass from Williams to Ka’Jandre Domino, and after an interception by Nicholas Peoples gave them the ball back, a 4-yard touchdown pass to Verlan Hunter cut the Grambling deficit to 20-17.

The Tigers appeared well on their way to scoring for the third time in the period, but an attempted spike with 10 seconds left in the half was called for a delay of game, which by rule, resulted in a 10-second runoff. That sent Grambling into the locker room trailing 20-17.

“We didn’t really get an explanation on that call,” Williams said. “But I’m just glad we didn’t let that carry over into the second half.”