HBCU football

There’s nothing like tailgating at Southern University on a football weekend

Photos from moments in and around the game

If you’ve never tailgated at an HBCU game, you haven’t really tailgated.

Folk showed up, and showed out, hours before the game – grilling, eating, commiserating and fellowshipping – eagerly anticipating the bands and their school’s dancers. And, oh – there was a game, too – a matchup that would go down to the wire, with Southern University holding off South Carolina State 14-8 in the season-opener for both teams on Sunday in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“I’d much rather be here than at the LSU game,” said a white police officer who made himself quite comfortable with a plate of food passed to him by a happy grill-master. “This is a small community, but on a day like today, we’re all family – and, I can walk to the field from here with no issue.”

The smells and the sounds of HBCU football is intoxicating. Yes, there’s trash-talking on both sides, but that’s part of it, too. As people walk by and children chase each other between tents, there’s a familial feel that you can only understand if you see it up close.

The Undefeated tried to capture the day through photography – giving you a feel for the bands, the drum line, the dancers, regular folks who bleed for their alma maters. – Mark W. Wright

Fans of the Southern University Jaguars react to the defense stopping the South Carolina State Bulldogs on the last play of the game. The Bulldogs could’ve tied the game with a touchdown.

L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated

South Carolina State teammates shake hands as they head into the stadium to face Southern University. The handshakes weren’t enough, as the Jaguars outlasted the Bulldogs 14-8.

Baton Rouge, La. – September 3,2017: In the first game of the season, Southen University Jaguars outlasted the South Carolina State Bulldogs 14-8. (L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated)

Baton Rouge, La. – September 3,2017: In the first game of the season, Southen University Jaguars outlasted the South Carolina State Bulldogs 14-8. (L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated)

Baton Rouge, La. – September 3,2017: In the first game of the season, Southen University Jaguars outlasted the South Carolina State Bulldogs 14-8. (L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated)

Baton Rouge, La. – September 3,2017: In the first game of the season, Southen University Jaguars outlasted the South Carolina State Bulldogs 14-8. (L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated)

Baton Rouge, La. – September 3,2017: In the first game of the season, Southen University Jaguars outlasted the South Carolina State Bulldogs 14-8. (L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated)

Baton Rouge, La. – September 3,2017: In the first game of the season, Southen University Jaguars outlasted the South Carolina State Bulldogs 14-8. (L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated)

Baton Rouge, La. – September 3,2017: In the first game of the season, Southen University Jaguars outlasted the South Carolina State Bulldogs 14-8. (L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated)

Baton Rouge, La. – September 3,2017: In the first game of the season, Southen University Jaguars outlasted the South Carolina State Bulldogs 14-8. (L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated)

Baton Rouge, La. – September 3,2017: In the first game of the season, Southen University Jaguars outlasted the South Carolina State Bulldogs 14-8. (L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated)

Baton Rouge, La. – September 3,2017: In the first game of the season, Southen University Jaguars outlasted the South Carolina State Bulldogs 14-8. (L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated)

Baton Rouge, La. – September 3,2017: In the first game of the season, Southen University Jaguars outlasted the South Carolina State Bulldogs 14-8. (L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated)

Kiva and Dawun Alford have been tailgating for about seven years. She is a Southern University graduate and their daughter currently attends.

L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated

Well after the game, fans continued to tailgate. An employee of Southern University said because of the federal holiday, he expected some fans to not leave until the next day.

L. Kasimu Harris for The Undefeated

Brent Lewis is the Senior Photo Editor of The Undefeated and a lover of all things Chicago except Chicago Mix popcorn. #justcheeseplease