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Southern matched up against Troy for the season opener in Troy, Alabama Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Troy defeated the Jaguars 55-5.

When Southern coach Jason Rollins first met former Jaguar coach Pete Richardson, it left a memorable impression on him.

“It was in San Antonio in 2003 or 2004 and we were at the coaches’ convention in San Antonio,” Rollins recalled. “We had a conversation in the parking lot. He’s such a big figure and you’re in such awe of him, you walk up and talk to him. It was amazing.”

Rollins will now be reminded of that meeting every time he enters A.W. Mumford Stadium as the school will officially recognize the field being named in Richardson’s honor as part of the Pete Richardson Classic game against Miles College Saturday at 6 p.m.

Southern, Rollins show promise despite 55-3 loss in season opener

The Southern Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for the naming in August and an acknowledgement will take place before the coin toss Saturday. Next year, a ceremony to physically put Richardson’s name on the field and stadium will be held in the home opener.

“It’s one of the biggest honors I can acquire, especially coming into a program where I didn’t know what to expect,” said Richardson, who won four Black national titles and five SWAC championships. “Over a period of years, I had some great assistant coaches who helped me put the program on its feet and did an outstanding job, winning games and gaining back the respect Southern had.

“We had some good players, too. They had a commitment and leadership to develop confidence in the system. Once we changed the culture, they controlled the rest of it. Coaches can only do so much. I’m looking forward to seeing some of them on Saturday.”

Richardson compiled a 134-62 record from 1993-2009, second only to Mumford (180-60-13) in Jaguars’ history. He was a five-time SWAC coach of the year and won multiple national coaching awards.

After retirement, Richardson and his wife, Lillian, made Baton Rouge their permanent home, and he has stayed close to the program he revived. Lillian passed away June 19, 2020.

“I’m happy I stayed in the area,” he said. “The people are really committed to Southern and supported me. At one time we thought about leaving but decided against it, and it worked out well for us.

“It will be an emotional day; some of the coaches and players are coming back. It will mean a great deal to have them here.”

Southern had planned to dedicate the field to Richardson last year but the COVID-19 pandemic forced moving the season into the spring.

“He’s one of our most celebrated legends,” Southern athletic director Roman Banks said. “He was the one to awaken Jaguar Nation and lead us to national championships. Coach Mumford set the standard for football here and Pete Richardson re-birthed that standard. It’s only fitting for those two power personalities — they were similar in personality — to take their rightful place together.”

COVID restrictions updated

Southern has updated its COVID-19 restrictions for Saturday’s game in consultation between Gov. John Bel Edwards and school officials

Fans 12 years and older attending Saturday’s game must wear masks prior to entry and during the game, the school announced Tuesday.

The restrictions include A.W. Mumford Stadium and all related Southern facilities for the fall season

Southern, Rollins show promise despite 55-3 loss in season opener

Masks must be worn at all times, unless eating or drinking. Masks are not required for fans tailgating outside the stadium, but are highly recommended, athletic director Roman Banks said.

Fans watching the game in fieldhouse or press box suites must show proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, a photo or photocopy of the vaccination card, or verified digital proof of vaccination. Those fans must also mask.

Polls

Southern dropped three spots to No. 9 and five spots to No. 10 in the latest BOXTOROW HBCU polls released on Monday.

The Jaguars were No. 9 in the coaches’ poll and No. 10 in the media poll. The top four teams this week in each poll were Alabama A&M, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Jackson State and North Carolina A&T. Grambling was No. 10 in the coaches’ poll and No. 9 in the media top 10.

Players of the Week

Alabama A&M quarterback Jaqeel Glass, Jackson State linebacker Aubrey Miller, Grambling’s Garret Urban and Prairie View’s Jawon Pass won SWAC player of the week honors in the first full week of play.

Glass took the offensive honor by completing 28 of 49 passes for 426 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in a 42-41 win over South Carolina State.

Miller won the defensive award with nine tackles, including a sack, and a pass breakup in a 7-6 victory against Florida A&M. Urban won the special teams honor by punting six times for a 41-yard average and making a 24-yard field goal attempt in a 16-10 victory against Tennessee State.

Pass won the award for newcomers with 354 yards passing and three TDs in a 40-17 victory against Texas Southern.