Home Sports College football: Late GSU rally comes up short in Bayou Classic

College football: Late GSU rally comes up short in Bayou Classic

by Russell Hedges

By Curtis Ford, Grambling State Associate AD for Athletic Communications; featured photo by Marcus Plummer

NEW ORLEANS — Grambling State nearly pulled off a miraculous comeback in the 5oth Annual Bayou Classic, but its bid came up short as the Tigers fell 27-22 to Southern on Saturday afternoon at Caesars Superdome.

Floyd Chalk Jrearned his second Bayou Classic MVP trophy after a dazzling performance that saw him rush for a game-high and career-high 172 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. 

GSU (5-6 overall, 4-4 SWAC) outgained SU 432-317. The Tigers ran fan 249 of those years. 

Grambling QB Myles Crawley went 19-for-30 for 183 yards and an interception. 

Defensively, the Tigers held Southern (6-5, 5-3) to 89 rushing yards. The G-Men also forced two turnovers. 

The first quarter was a tale of give and take. Grambling State’s Chance Williams fumbled on the Tigers second play of the game with SU recovering at the G-Men 27-yard line. The Tiger defense stood tall, forcing a Southern punt. 

On SU’s second drive of the game, Braelin Morgan coughed up the ball deep in GSU territory, with Kevin Thomas pouncing on the ball at the Grambling State 3-yard line.  

That fumble recovery jump started a 13-play, 97-yard drive the saw Myles Crawley carry the ball into the end zone for a 1-yard score, giving GSU a 7-0 lead with 1:17 to go in the first quarter. 

On Southern’s ensuing drive, Noah Bodden connected with Darren Morris for an 8-yard touchdown. The PAT tied it 7-7 with 12:26 remining in the first half. 

The Jaguars had a 14-point swing to close the half. Kendric Rhymes made it 14-7 SU with a 2-yard TD at the 2:01 mark. Southern blocked a 44-yard field goal attempt and Demetri Morsell returned it for a touchdown to a grow the lead to 21-7 just before halftime. 

Southern opened the second half with a bang. Rhymes took second play from scrimmage 73 yards for a TD. The Jaguars missed the extra point attempt, making it 27-7 with 14:11 left in the third quarter. 

Andrew Jones gave the GSU a spark with an interception returned for a touchdown at the 8:36 mark, trimming down to 13, 27-14. 

Grambling State’s defense stood tall and forced a Southern punt from the shadow of the Jaguars goal line. On the snap, SU punter Robens Beauplan snapped on the end line in the back of the end zone for a safety, shrinking GSU’s deficit to 27-16 with 6:58 to play in the third quarter.

The Tigers had an opportunity to pull within single digits early in the fourth quarter, moving inside the SU 10-yard. But an interception by Jordan Carter at the SU 1-yard line thwarted the scoring chance for the Tigers.

Grambling State, however, atoned for the turnover on the next possession, easily driving down the field and pushing the ball into the end zone on a 3-yard scamper by Floyd Chalk Jr. The Tigers elected to go for the two-point conversion, but was stopped, setting the score at 27-22 with 7:02 remaining in the game. 

In typical Bayou Classic fashion, the drama hit high tilt near in the closing moments of the fourth quarter. After GSU’s defense forced another Southern punt, the Tigers began its final drive at its own 36-yard line with 3:59 to play.

The Tigers orchestrated a beautiful drive, highlighted by a 28-yard run by Chalk to the SU 4-yard line to set up first and goal. However, the Tigers could not punch it in allowing the Jaguars to escape with the victory. 

Rhymes led SU on the ground with 103 yards and two touchdowns on 18 attempts. Bodden threw for 231 yards, a TD and an INT on 13-of-26 passing. 

For complete coverage of Grambling State athletics, please follow the Tigers on social media at @GSU_Tigers (Twitter), /GramblingStateTigers1901 (Facebook), @gramblingathletics (Instagram) or visit the official home of Grambling State Athletics at gsutigers.com.

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