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Cajun Invasion

One of college football’s longest rivalries marches on this fall

Southern University’s Austin Howard throws a pass against Grambling in 2015. MAX BECHERER / AP IMAGES

Arguably the most storied football rivalry between historically black college and university teams in the nation, Grambling State University and Southern University, Baton Rouge, have met on the gridiron 67 times since their first meeting in 1932. This year’s clash will take place Nov. 26 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Here are a few facts about the rivalry:

Grambling Tigers vs. Southern Jaguars

Kickoff for the 2016 game is set for 4 p.m. Central time Nov. 26 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and the game will be broadcast on NBC.

  • In 1974, the in-state rivalry began being played exclusively in New Orleans, a neutral site. From that year on, the game was dubbed the Bayou Classic.
  • The two rivals are 21-21 against each other since 1974. In 2015, Grambling snapped a three-game losing streak in the rivalry with a 34-23 victory.
  • The first Bayou Classic was played in Tulane Stadium. It was moved to the Superdome in 1975 and drew a Superdome football-record crowd of 73,214 that year.
  • The 2005 Bayou Classic was the only one not played in Louisiana. The game had to be held in Houston’s Reliant Stadium due to damage the Superdome sustained in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
  • While the teams have played every year since 1974, the rivalry got its start in 1932, when Southern University posted a 20-0 victory over Grambling. The teams met 25 times – mostly on their campuses in Grambling and Baton Rouge, Louisiana – through 1973.
  • This is more than just a football rivalry. There is a weeklong celebration, including events such as a parade and a battle of bands (featuring Grambling’s World Famed Tiger Marching Band and Southern University’s Human Jukebox). Last year, 29,652 attended the battle of the bands and Greek show, and 62,907 attended the football game the next day.


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Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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