NEW ORLEANS, La. â€“ Grambling State’s quest for an undefeated SWAC run came to an end on Saturday afternoon as Southern University defeated the Tigers 22-13 before 53,297 fans at the Louisiana Superdome.
After receiving the opening kickoff, Southern jumped out on top when running back Darren Coates scored on a one-yard run. SU’s Josh Duran nailed the PAT for a 7-0 advantage. Grambling State quickly answered and tied the game at 7-7 with a 13-play drive that spanned 61 yards. On the drive, the Tigers used their ground attack and capped off the drive with freshman Cornelius Walker’s one-yard rush.
With the score tied at 7-7, SU moved back on top by six points when Bryant Lee connected with Coates for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Duran’s PAT was good as the Jaguars led 14-7. From that point, the contest turned into a defensive struggle as both teams alternated possessions en route to a 14-7 halftime lead by Southern.
The second half was a mirror image of the first as neither team took advantage of good field position on several occasions. Southern finally took advantage late in the third quarter when Joe Manning blocked a Tim Manuel punt that rolled into the end zone for a team safety and a 16-7 advantage. Three drives later, Grambling’s miseries grew larger as punter Tim Manuel was stopped for an 18-yard loss at GSU’s 7-yard line. Five plays later, Southern moved ahead 19-7 when Duran nailed a 23-yard field goal attempt.
After several stalled offensive possessions, Grambling State’s offense finally came to life and rode the arm of quarterback Brandon Landers. On the drive, which spanned 67 yards in eight plays, Landers completed 7-of-8 passes en route to finding wideout Clyde Edwards for a 27-yard scoring strike. Manuel’s PAT was blocked as GSU continued to trail 19-13 in the middle of the fourth quarter.
With the momentum shifting and time winding down in the final stanza, SU backup quarterback Warren Matthews converted a huge 3rd-and-2 when he found Coates for a 32-yard reception. Four plays later, Duran connected on a 37-yard field goal attempt to move Southern ahead by two possessions at 22-13.
GSU never got on track at that point as Landers was intercepted on the next drive. SU ran the clock out on the ensuing drive and captured its second consecutive Bayou Classic contest.
For the game, SU amassed 366 (214 P, 152 R) total offensive yards to GSU’s 253 (195 P, 58 R). Coates led SU in rushing with 107 yards on 24 carries while Frank Warren finished with 49 yards. Landers threw for 192 yards on 22-of-36 passing while Bryant Lee passed for 120 yards. Edwards led all GSU receivers with eight catches for 84 yards while Gerard Landry caught five passes for 72 yards.