Grambling State football fizzles late under Hue Jackson, drops Bayou Classic to Southern

Hue Jackson's first season as Grambling State football coach didn't go how he expected.

A five-game losing streak overshadowed some of the progress but led to Jackson finding his quarterback of the future in freshman Julian Calvez.

And on Saturday, the Tigers threatened to pull a stunner in the Bayou Classic before fizzling in the fourth quarter and falling to Southern 34-17 on Saturday at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

Grambling led 17-14 before a tight game swung toward Southern following a roughing-the-punter penalty with 50 seconds left in the third quarter. The Jaguars took the lead when quarterback Besean McCray ran in a touchdown moments later, igniting a 20-0 run by Southern to put the game away.

Southern advances to face Jackson State (11-0, 8-0 SWAC) in the SWAC Championship at 3 p.m. next Saturday at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Grambling (4-8, 2-6) started fast against Southern, as Calvez threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Lyndon Rash to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 43 seconds to play in the first quarter.

McCray responded by hitting wide receiver Cassius Allen on a 32-yard slant pass to move the ball to Grambling's 5-yard line, where Jaguars running back Kendrick Rhymes scored with 25 seconds left in the half for a 14-10 lead.

Grambling’s opening drive in the third quarter culminated on a fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. On fourth down, Calvez ran a delayed quarterback sneak as the Tigers retook the lead.

After Southern’s go-ahead touchdown on the roughing penalty, the Jaguars put the game away when defensive tackle Derrick Williams sacked Calvez for a 13-yard loss, forcing a fumble that safety Jordan Carter it 26 yards for a touchdown with 7:42 remaining.

The win gives Southern a rematch with JSU, which beat the Jaguars 35-0 on Oct. 29 after ESPN’s “College GameDay” pregame show visited Jackson State for the first time in history.

HUE JACKSON FINDING PROGRESS IN TEAMHue Jackson, Grambling State football finding progress but not enough as home opener looms

G-MEN CANNOT KEEP UP WITH SOUTHERNGrambling State football can't keep up with Texas Southern

THREE BOLD PREDICTIONS FOR HUE JACKSONThree bold predictions for Grambling football coach Hue Jackson, Tigers in 2022

A Twitter List by JTKEITH1

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Grambling fizzles under Hue Jackson, drops Bayou Classic to Southern