Grambling, Southeastern carry the mail for Louisiana college football in week one
It was a tough opening weekend for Louisiana college football teams.
With much of the state reeling from the impact of Hurricane Ida, suffering fans looked to their football teams for relief from the storm of life.
Unfortunately, it was a very tough weekend for Louisiana schools, who combined to go 2-8.
The promise of the preseason quickly turned to the stark reality of stirring setbacks in season openers.
Those included inspired efforts in heartbreaking losses for Louisiana Tech, Tulane, McNeese and Louisiana College and blowout losses involving Southern, ULM and Nicholls. Louisiana lost to a good team on the road and LSU lost to a Pac 12 team.
The good news was provided by Grambling and Southeastern Louisiana.
After a tough spring season in which Grambling finished 0-4, including a 49-7 loss to Southern in the Bayou Classic on April 17, the Tigers started the 2021 fall season in outstanding fashion Saturday.
In a defensive battle, Grambling downed Tennessee State 16-10 at the Black College Hall of Fame Classic at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
Elijah Walker threw for a touchdown and he rushed 17 times for 77 yards to lead the Tigers. Jaye Patrick caught the touchdown pass of 18 yards from Walker.
Kenan Fontenot had eight tackles to lead the Grambling defense and broke up a pass.
Grambling steps up in class this coming Saturday at Hattiesburg against Southern Miss.
Southeastern Louisiana, ranked 15th and 17th, respectively in the FCS preseason rankings, lived up to those lofty expectations with a solid 49-28 win over North Alabama at Florence.
The Lions overcame the dramatic impact of Hurricane Ida on Tangipahoa Parish and relocated the game to Florence from Strawberry Stadium.
It was impressive.
The Lions broke open a close game by scoring 22 unanswered points in the second half.
Cole Kelley, the reigning Walter Payton Award winner as the top player in the nation in the FCS ranks, picked up where he left off last year, completing 30-of-41 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns and he rushed for a fourth score.
Alphonso Taylor led the Lion defense with nine tackles.
Nicholls stepped up to face an FBS opponent on the road and fell 42-17 at Memphis.
Former Karr star Dai’Jean Dixon had seven catches for 107 yards to pace the Colonels.
Northwestern State fell 44-14 at North Texas.
Scooter Adams rushed 12 times for 92 yards and had seven catches for 36 yards for the Demons.
McNeese lost a tough 42-36 home game to West Florida.
Former Mandeville star Cody Orgeron completed 31-of-47 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 35 yards and a score.
Boogie Knight had six catches for 58 yards for the Warhawks, who played three quarterbacks in Terry Bowden’s coaching debut.
Louisiana College fell to 0-2 with a 20-13 loss to Southwestern Assemblies of God University.
Devin Briscoe rushed 16 times for 107 yards and a touchdown for the Wildcats.
No. 23 Louisiana lost 38-18 at No. 21 Texas.
Levi Lewis was 28-of-40 for 282 yards and a touchdown and rushed six times for 19 yards.
Louisiana Tech let a 21-point second half lead escape as Mississippi State escaped with a 35-34 win at Starkville. Tech had a potential game-winning field goal blocked as time expired.
Austin Kendall passed for 269 yards and two touchdowns.
Tech has an intriguing home opener against Southeastern Louisiana Saturday.
Southern was overmatched in a 55-3 loss to FBS Troy on the road.
Ladarius Skelton passed for 85 yards and rushed for 31 yards in a losing cause.
Kayshon Boutte picked up where he left off in 2020, catching nine passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns.
LSU hosts McNeese in the Orgeron family battle this Saturday.
Tulane was simply outstanding but fell just short in a 40-35 loss at No. 2 Oklahoma.
Michael Pratt was superb and showed toughness, completing 27-of-44 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns and rushed 15 times for 34 yards.
It was just one week.
While cold water was thrown on the enthusiasm of fan bases and the fury of water and wind damaged the mind, spirit and structures of the state, the games were played, providing welcome relief from the stark reality many in our state are engulfed in.
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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…