Southern players celebrate after the 46th Annual Bayou Classic on Nov. 30, 2019, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Jaguars won 30-28.


Ladarius Skelton is easily the best running quarterback in the SWAC, and with Devon Benn healthy and Jerodd Sims improving, Southern needs to pass less. The Jaguars will have to throw it a little to keep the defense honest. A new wrinkle is the speed sweep and reverse off of it, run by speedsters Kendric Jones and Corey Williams. The Southern offensive line has been dominating up front with run blocking and pass protection. The Southern offense has overall been humming.


Southern defensive ends Jordan Lewis and Jalen Ivy can attack the quarterback with the secondary blanketing receivers and the line dominating the line of scrimmage. Davin Cotton and Robert Square have been pushing the pocket and shutting down the run. Even when the Jaguars don’t get sacks, their rush has forced poor throws by interrupting quarterbacks’ timing with receivers. If Southern gets the lead, the defense could have a sack party in the second half.


Coaches on both sidelines want their players revved up for this — and judging from past Bayou Classics, we can expect to see some flags because of the intense emotion. Southern’s roster is packed with fourth- and fifth-year players who know the score, and they should help younger players this season or in past Bayou Classics. Even though Southern appears to have an advantage here, these games are always competitive, and the Tigers won’t quit if they fall behind.


This crowd should be the best all season for both teams, and with the game a short drive from Grambling’s campus, there might be some extra buzz. An additional batch of tickets went on sale, so the energy should make for good atmosphere with a chance at as many as 25,000 fans. The players will appreciate it, given all they’ve been through, trying to play a season and go to school during a pandemic. Even without the bands, it could end up being memorable.