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Southern players pose for a photo after the 46th Annual Bayou Classic at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. Southern beat Grambling 30-28.

It was midway through the second quarter of the Bayou Classic when the Southern University marching band played the Lenny Kravitz tune "It Ain't Over Til It's Over."

Two plays later, Grambling scored to take what seemed like a commanding 18-point lead.

At the time, this one indeed seemed over.

But perhaps the Human Jukebox band director knew what was to come, because this one was a long way from being over.

In fact, this one wasn't over until New Orleans native Joe Davis — more on him later — was able to deflect what would have been the game-winning field goal by Grambling with 5 seconds left.

It helped Southern hang on after rallying from that early deficit to claim a breathtaking 30-28 victory that put the "classic" in Bayou Classic.

By the time this one was over, Jaguars fans were chanting "Go Home!" just as they tell all of their opponents after a victory.

Grambling will indeed have to do just that. The Tigers finished their season 6-5 and saw their six-game winning streak snapped.

Southern's season, meanwhile, continues. With the victory, the Jaguars (8-4) won the Southwestern Athletic Conference Western Division title and advance to next week's SWAC championship game at Alcorn State.

The two-point margin was the closest Bayou Classic since 1991, when Southern prevailed 31-30.

Saturday's game was the latest thrilling chapter in a series that began way back in 1932 when they played in Monroe. The rivalry became known as the Bayou Classic in 1974, and the series is now tied 23-23 under that name. And this latest installment was just as close as that series record itself. It's one, like so many in this rivalry, that will be remembered by the crowd of 68,314 for years to come.

"Sixty-eight thousand plus got a chance to witness one of the greatest rivalries in college football," Southern coach Dawson Odums said. "I tip my hat off to Grambling. An unbelievable game. You hate for somebody to have to lose a game like this."

There were plenty of heroes for the Jaguars in this one.

Southern quarterback Ladarius Skelton threw for 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns and was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

Jarod Sims rushed for 89 yards and scored two touchdowns and former John Curtis Christian standout Devon Benn rushed for 66 yards.

"We knew we had to get this W to play for the championship," Benn said. "We came in with high intensity and high energy and got the win."

Receiver Hunter Register, whose college career began at the University of Minnesota, caught 7 passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns. 

But even those numbers were almost not enough.

It wasn't until Davis, a senior defensive end, partially blocked that kick that Southern was finally able to celebrate.

"Biggest moment of my life," said Davis.

Making it even more special is that it came in Davis' hometown.

He grew up in New Orleans, often attending Saints games as a kid. But he never got a chance to play in the Superdome in high school for the state championship like so many other New Orleans kids gets to do.

His high school team wasn't very good.

He played at Joseph S. Clark, which is no longer open.

Davis can count the number of games he won in high school on one hand — perhaps the same left hand that helped rescue the Jaguars and give them their second straight Bayou Classic win. Or the right hand that he got on a field goal earlier. 

"It feels amazing to go out the right way in the Bayou Classic," Davis said.

And this one was indeed classic.

Email Rod Walker at rwalker@theadvocate.com