The Sports Network
By Tim McDonnell, FCS Assistant
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 2:30 p.m. (ET).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (65,000) - New Orleans, Louisiana. Surface: Artificial. Television: NBC. Announcers: Paul Burmeister, Todd Harris, Anthony Herron. Annual: 39th State Farm Bayou Classic. Bayou Classic Record: Grambling State (20-18). Home record: Grambling State 1-4; Southern 1-3. Road record: Grambling State 0-4; Southern 1-3. Neutral record: Grambling State 0-1; Southern 1-1. Nicknames: Grambling State Tigers; Southern Jaguars. Southwestern Athletic Conference Record: Grambling State 0-8; Southern 2-6. Series record: Grambling State (30-29). Last meeting: November 26, 2011 (Grambling State, 36-12 at New Orleans, LA). Series Streak: Grambling State has won the last four meetings. Head Coaches: Grambling State - Doug Williams (eighth season, 61-21 at Grambling State, 64-39 Overall); Southern - Dawson Odums (Interim, 3-5 at Southern, 3-5 overall). Sheridan Broadcasting Network Rankings: Southern (NR); Grambling State (NR).
GAME NOTES: In a game featuring two classic HBCU rivals, the XXXIX Bayou Classic, played in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, means a whole lot for the fans, players and alumnus of the respected schools.
Yes, it's a competition on the field, but it's also an event celebrating HBCU traditions, such as the battle of the marching bands and other family activities. Plus, some proceeds from the game support the schools' athletic programs and help fund scholarships.
Grambling State enters the game trying to end its season in some form of positive direction. The Tigers have a record of 1-9 and the team's only win came versus Division II Virgina-Lynchburg. They have struggled on both sides of the ball, allowing 407 yards per game - 222 rushing - and averaging only 296 yards per game. It's been a difficult year for Grambling, especially after the team won the SWAC title just one season ago.
Southern also is looking to end its season with a much-needed victory after losing its last two games by two total points. A 24-23 overtime defeat versus Alabama A&M, followed by a 31-30 defeat versus Alabama State, were very tough losses for a team which has only three wins this season.
In 10 games, the Jaguars have struggled to run the ball, averaging 76 yards per game, which ranks 177th in the FCS. The team's passing game, on the other hand, has been productive. Quarterback Dray Joseph is completing 58 percent of his passes for 2,227 yards and 20 touchdowns versus seven interceptions. Receivers Lee Doss and Mike Berry have 618 and 616 receiving yards,, respectively, and have accounted for 13 touchdowns this year.
Neither team has much to lose except to head into the offseason on a good note. Still, with the history of the contest and the hype surrounding both fan bases, anything can happen.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Southern 28, Grambling State 20.
11/21 12:59:29 ET