Martez Carter lifts Grambling to a 30-21 win over Southern in Bayou Classic
In his final Bayou Classic, Carter overcomes a fumble and injury to help the Tigers win their 10th straight
NEW ORLEANS — Martez Carter lay on the turf of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome writhing in pain after an awkward tackle 5 yards in the backfield. A series earlier, he’d fumbled the ball on Grambling’s 38-yard line and Southern cashed it in for a touchdown.
This wasn’t the way Carter’s last Bayou Classic was supposed to play out. It had started so well up to that point, with the Tigers leading 14-0 and the running back accounting for 70 yards on 12 carries as well as a touchdown reception.
Then, with 4:47 left on the clock, Grambling found itself trailing 21-20 and facing defeat or a comeback drive. But, as it turned out, both the pain and the deficit were short-lived.
Rising from the turf, Carter scored an 11-yard touchdown with 3:22 remaining, essentially securing the Tigers’ 10th straight win of the season. A field goal with 1:39 left was the icing and two-score insurance. They were also the final points of the game, as Grambling defeated Southern 30-21.
Just like Beyoncé sang in 2006, Baby, I swear it’s déjà vu, as the Tigers won the in-state rivalry game for the third year in a row. Both the Jaguars and Grambling traveled to New Orleans with impressive winning streaks. Grambling came in having won nine in a row, while the Jaguars had reeled off six straight.
The game’s final result was nothing similar to the 2016 Bayou Classic, when the teams put up a combined 82 points. It was apparent from the start that the defenses would rule the day and preventing turnovers would be paramount.
But turnovers there were. Grambling scored touchdowns after hauling in an interception and a Southern missed field goal. Southern scored its second touchdown of the day after Carter’s fumble.
The Tigers will now play Alcorn State in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship game in Houston on Dec. 2. The winner of the SWAC title game faces N.C. A&T State, champion of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, in the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 16 in Atlanta.