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Gear Up for a Bayou Classic: Grambling Tigers vs. Southern Jaguars

The Grambling Tigers (0-3, 0-3 SWAC) and the Southern Jaguars (4-1, 3-1 SWAC) get together for the 72nd meeting between the Southwest Athletic Conference rivals. Typically held in New Orleans, LA, inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, this spring showdown will be played at A.W. Mumford Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA.

Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday and can be seen on NBC Sports. If you are betting, the FCS odds have the Tigers at +6.5 (-115) while the Jaguars are listed at -6.5 (-105).

Carlos Davis of the South Alabama Jaguars tries to break free from Zyon McGee of the Georgia Southern Eagles
Chris Thelen/Getty Images/AFP

What to Know – Grambling Tigers

The Tigers have had a rather forgetful spring slate, winless in three games with a pair of cancellations. Grambling faces the task of taking down one of the top teams in the SWAC after not seeing the field for almost a month. The Tigers have lost two in a row in the Classic.

Grambling starter quarterback Geremy Hickbottom, the most experienced signal-caller on the roster, announced his intentions to transfer following the Tigers’ loss to Arkansas Pine-Bluff back in March. Junior Elijah Walker (21-of-38, 267 yards, one touchdown, one interception) expects to handle the quarterback duties.

The Tigers average 124.7 points per game on the ground, with three running backs sharing the workload out of the backfield. Redshirt freshman CJ Russell leads the trio, carrying the ball 27 times for 114 yards and one touchdown.

A pair of wideouts are the focus of Grambling’s passing game that averages 241.3 yards. Graduate student Darrell Clark leads the Tigers with 16 receptions for 171 yards and a score, while redshirt senior Kobe’ Ross adds 12 catches, 152 yards, and one touchdown.

Defensively, the Tigers surrender 32.7 points per game and 427.3 yards of total offense. Four Grambling defenders have recorded 20 tackles or more, with redshirt junior Kenan Fontenot and junior Bryan Powell each with 21 stops.

What to Know – Southern Jaguars

Southern built off a successful 2019 season with a solid spring record. The Jaguars took down Jackson State, 34-14, their last time out before having their contest last week against Prairie View A&M canceled.

Redshirt junior quarterback Ladarius Skelton has thrown for 1642 yards and rushed for a team-high 870 yards in 13 games played over the fall and spring. Skelton has accounted for 27 (14 rushing, 13 passing) of the Jaguars’ 57 total touchdowns.

Behind Skelton’s legs, redshirt junior running back Devon Benn is the team’s leading running back. Benn accounts for 806 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns scored both in the fall and spring. Southern rushes for 228.6 yards per game on the ground.

The Jaguars don’t like to turn to the air too often, averaging 174.9 yards per game through the sky. Redshirt senior wide receiver Hunter Register is the one to watch, hauling in 43 passes for 610 yards and 11 touchdowns in 13 games.

Southern’s defense holds opponents to 26.0 points per game and 388.5 yards of offense. The Jaguars have two playmakers on the defensive side of the ball in redshirt senior Calvin Lunkins (89 total stops) and redshirt junior Caleb Carter (81 total stops).

The Pick is in

The Tigers are searching for their first win and will have to do so with a new starting quarterback. Grambling will have to create turnovers and put the Tigers in good field position if they want to have a chance against a tough Jaguars squad.

Southern needs to attack the Tigers’ offensive line and pressure whoever is under center for Grambling. If the Jaguars continue to pound the ball, they should have no problem putting up points against the Tigers’ defense.

When making your FCS bet, trust the Jaguars to cover the spread for -6.5.

The Pick: Southern Jaguars to cover -6.5 (-105)

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