What: Bayou Classic
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Time: 4 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSN

Grambling State (9-1, 8-0 SWAC), Southern (8-2, 8-0 SWAC)



Key matchups

When Grambling passes …

Tigers quarterback Devante Kincade has gotten even better since last year, throwing for 2,350 yards to go along with 27 touchdowns. His 261.1 yards per game and 174.6 passing efficiency leads the SWAC. Southern ranks No. 3 in the conference in pass defense allowing 205 passing yards per game and is No.1 interceptions with at 19 this season.

Edge: Grambling.

When Grambling runs …

The weakness of the Southern defense is controlling the run. Opponents have rushed for 188 yards per game this season and scored 19 TDs. The combination of Jestin Kelly and Martez Carter have rushed for 14 touchdowns at a 6.2 yard clip.

Edge: Grambling

When Southern passes …

If not for Kincade, Austin Howard would be the clear-cut best quarterback in the SWAC. He’s been brilliant this season, throwing for 2,460 yards and 26 touchdowns. The Grambling defense has been great against the pass ranking No.1 in passing efficiency and pass defense efficiency.

Edge: Even

When Southern runs …

Running back Lenard Tillery is the premiere running back in Black College Football in 2016 depending on who you ask. The senior has tallied 1,431 rushing yards and 12 TDs (143 yards per game). The Grambling run defense has been just as solid, only allowing six rushing TDs all season and league-best 3.1 yards per carry. But the Tigers haven’t faced any back quite like Tillery.

Edge: Southern

Special teams…

Southern boasts the most dangerous kickoff and punt return specialist in the SWAC in the person of Willie Quinn. The senior is only second behind Tillery in all-purpose yards with 1,618.

Edge: Southern

Coaching

Both teams are led by coaches who have put their respective teams in the best position succeed. Since the two programs are similar statistically in almost every category, it will be the coach who makes the decisions in high leverage situations that will likely determine who wins the Bayou Classic.

Edge: Grambling

Prediction

Grambling 27, Southern 24

About The Author

Kendrick Marshall

Editor for HBCU Sports, award-winning journalist, and a graduate of Jackson State University.

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