The Sports Network
By John Hooper, FCS Correspondent
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 29th, 2 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Louisiana Superdome (65,000) -- New Orleans, Louisiana. Surface: Artificial. Television: NBC. Home Record: Grambling 4-0; Southern U 3-1. Away Record: Grambling 3-2; Southern U 2-3. Neutral Record: Grambling 2-0; Southern U 1-0. Series Record: Southern 30-26. Bayou Classic Record: Southern (18-16). Last Meeting: November 24, 2007 (Southern, 22-13 at New Orleans, LA). Streak: Southern has won four of the last six meetings. Conference: Grambling - Southwestern Athletic; Southern - Southwestern Athletic. Sports Network Ranking: Grambling (NR); Southern U (NR). SBN Ranking: Grambling (3); Southern U (6).
GAME NOTES: Grambling will meet arch-rival Southern in the 55th renewal of the SWAC's most-prestigious rivalry, and it will mark the 35th meeting between the two as a part of the Bayou Classic. The Jaguars hold hold the overall rivalry advantage, 29-26, and lead the Bayou Classic series 18-16.
Grambling enters the contest as one of the hottest teams in the FCS, having won eight straight games, and has plenty on the line. The Tigers can claim the outright SWAC Western Division title and a spot in the SWAC championship game in two weeks against Jackson State with a win.
A Grambling loss would create a three-way tie for first between Grambling, Southern and Prairie View and force a three-team coin flip to determine who would play Jackson State.
If Southern hopes to break Grambling's winning streak, the Jaguars will need to contain a Grambling running game (244 yards per game) that ranks third in the SWAC in rushing. The Tiger ground game continues to be paced by tailback Cornelius Walker (520 yards, two TDs).
The offense has been managed efficiently by signal-caller Greg Dillon (1,091 yards, 14 TDs, seven interceptions). Dillon's top target in a calculated passing game (150 yards per game) is Nick Lewis (34 receptions, 13.7 average, five TDs).
The Tigers have displayed one of the most-physical defensive units in the SWAC, buoyed by linebacker Keefe Hall (82 tackles, seven tackles for loss, one interception), while defensive end Melvin Matthews (14.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks) has terrorized opposing quarterbacks all season. Grambling has given up 261 yards per game and 13.4 points per game.
Southern has an offense that will offer Grambling's defense its stiffest challenge yet, led by quarterback Bryant Lee (2,498 yards, 19 TDs, seven interceptions) and receiver Juamorris Stewart (67 receptions, 14.4 average, 11 TDs).
Southern has a strong defense (353 yards per game) of its own and will provide a stiff test to Grambling's ground-oriented attack. The Jaguars' defense has been paced by linebacker John Malveaux (81 tackles, three interceptions.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern 17, Grambling 14.
11/27 11:37:41 ET