Grambling St. must win to play in SWAC title game
Southern University’s football team will be playing its last
game of the season Saturday.
The Jaguars want to make sure rival Grambling State does the
Grambling State needs a victory against Southern (4-6, 4-4) in
the 38th annual Bayou Classic to advance to play against Southwest
Athletic Conference east division winner Alabama A&M (8-3, 7-2)
in the SWAC championship game on Dec. 10 in Birmingham, Ala.
Grambling State (6-4, 5-3) enters the Bayou Classic with a
half-game lead over Prairie View (5-6, 5-4) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff
(6-5, 5-4) in the west division.
If Southern wins, there will be a four-way tie for first place,
and Arkansas-Pine Bluff would advance to the championship game
based on league tiebreakers.
”That’s huge for us,” Southern coach Stump Mitchell said.
Grambling State enters the game with a five-game winning streak
and leads the series 19-18 against Southern.
”At one point in the season we were 1-4, and they wanted to
pull the plug on us,” said Tigers first-year coach Doug Williams,
who’s coaching his first Bayou Classic after playing in the first
Southern has won two of its past three games. The Jaguars
defeated Alabama State 26-23 on Nov. 12 when Brian McCain had a
1-yard touchdown with 9 seconds remaining.
Both teams have freshman quarterbacks.
Grambling State’s D.J. Williams, a 6-foot-4, 193-pounder and son
of the coach, has completed 46 of 94 passes for 575 yards, seven
touchdowns and four interceptions. He completed 14 of 19 for 253
yards and three touchdowns to lead the Tigers to a 29-25 victory
against Texas Southern.
Southern quarterback J.P. Douglas, a 6-1, 175-pounder, has
thrown nine touchdown passes. He threw for 259 yards and two
touchdowns against Alabama State.
Grambling State is led defensively by linebacker Cliff Exama,
who has 122 tackles. Southern linebacker Jamie Payton has 78
Payton and his teammates relish the chance to derail Grambling
State’s season Saturday.
”Grambling is in the driver’s seat,” Mitchell said. ”This is
a bowl game for us.”