Jaguars win a classic thriller 52-45, returns to SWAC championship
NEW ORLEANS - A thrilling finish to a high scoring 41st Bayou Classic, which saw Grambling miss a game tying touchdown by inches in the final seconds.
With less than 20 seconds left and the Tigers facing a 4th and 8 from the Jaguar 9 yard line, QB Johnathan Williams scrambled for 8 yards and missed a game tying touchdown by about a foot but managed to get the 1st down. After a review and a Jaguar timeout, Williams tried to run it up the middle but was stopped while the final seconds ticked away.
Southern finishes the season as the SWAC west champions with an 8-1 conference record and 8-3 overall.
The middle of the 4th quarter saw a string of 3 touchdowns in 35 seconds. A 14 yard pass from Johnathan Williams to Verlon Hunter to cap a 25 yard drive for the Tigers which cut the Jaguar lead to 45-38, a Jaleel Richardson 79 yard kickoff return to bring the lead back to 14 points, and a Chester Rogers 76 yard pass from Williams which would be the final score of the game.
Southern scored TDs on their first two drives of the game. They were a 13 yard pass to Willie Quinn and a 45 yard pass to Mike Jones.
After giving up 10 points to start the 2nd quarter, the Jags rallied for 17 unanswered points which opened up a 21-point lead. But a 5 yard TD pass from Williams to Hunter with 8 seconds left in the half led to a 31-17 halftime Jaguar lead.
Jaguars QB Austin Howard threw 3 TDs, 2 to Jones and 1 to Quinn. Howard finished 14-for-23 for 258 yards throwing 1 interception. Lenard Tillery also rushed for 2 TDs with 168 yards.
Williams finished 33-for-64 for 450 yards, 4 TDs and 1 interception.
Grambling outgained Southern in total yards 511 to 484 and the time of possession was just about even.
The Jaguars will now set their sights on Alcorn State in the SWAC championship game next Saturday in Houston. Southern is looking to repeat as SWAC champions. The Braves gave Southern their only SWAC loss of the season in a demoralizing 56-16 blowout back in September. Kickoff will be at 3 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU.