Grambling, New Orleans are big winners at 2017 Bayou Classic
The 44th Annual Bayou Classic was not a classic but it was well worth the price of admission.
Grambling fought off Southern 30-21 to win the SWAC West Division title. It was the third straight win in the Bayou Classic for the Tigers over the Jaguars.
A crowd of 66,550, slightly down from the 2016 figure of 67,845 were on hand to watch it.
The classic is back to being on very solid ground.
Back in 2011, attendance had slipped to 40,715 but it increased annually every year until this year. That both teams are good again has helped fuel the interest, along with an improving economy.
New Orleans again proved itself as the champion host of big events. The city received a huge boost from the game with hotel occupancy very high.
As for the game, it was an entertaining, back and forth affair. It was not the offensive shootout that many expected and that we are more accustomed to seeing in this contest.
Southern led 21-20 but saw Grambling close the game on a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to take the victory. De’Aumonte Johnson sealed the deal for the Tigers with an interception of Howard with 1:23 remaining.
West St. John’s Austin Howard completed 24-of-41 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Southern committed three turnovers, which proved costly, to just one for the Tigers. St Augustine’s Herbert Edwards rushed 14 times for 68 yards for the Jaguars.
Southern had 303 total yards to 293 for Grambling. The Jaguars missed a pair of rather easy field goal opportunities, including one that was blocked. In a competitive game, the kicking game will always factor largely. Grambling had a long kickoff return, blocked the field goal and Marc Orozco converted three field goal attempts. The Grambling defense has been outstanding all season long and now has an astonishing 45 sacks on the season.
Martez Carter rushed 14 times for 106 yards and a touchdown while Devante Kincade completed 14-of-30 passes for 171 yards and a score for the Tigers (10-1, 7-0 SWAC). Kincade was named the most outstanding player for Grambling.
The Tigers have now won 10 straight games after a season opening loss at Tulane. Grambling has now won 25 consecutive conference games. The Tigers face a rematch with Alcorn in the SWAC championship game next Saturday. Grambling whipped Alcorn 41-14 on Oct. 21 at Grambling. The winner advances to take on North Carolina A&T Dec. 16 in the Celebration Bowl in Atlanta.
- < PREV Magic Man's Sunday Preview From the Fair Grounds
- NEXT > Basketball Report: Smart puts on show for Scotlandville, LSU fans at Thanksgiving Hoopfest
Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…