Mckenzi Neal Data News Weekly Contributor
Fans from two universities in the state capital: Louisiana State University and Southern University-Baton Rouge, gathered at Death Valley to take part in a historical match-up on Sept. 10, 2022.
It was game day for LSU and Southern fans. Tents stood tall, cooked food filled the air, and the Tiger Stadium was full.
Tailgate season has officially started, and it did so with a historical match-up.
“We were excited for this opportunity. It was great for the community, playing a traditional HBCU school, which meant a lot. We were happy that we were able to get the game. But I think our guys wanted to get back on the field,” said Brian Kelly, the head coach of LSU’s football team, in a press conference.
Even though Southern University is not in the Southeastern Conference with LSU, the Southern Jaguars have had success in the Southwestern Athletic Conference and are known to face off with Grambling University in the Bayou Classic. In 2003, Southern set a 12-1 record in the Black College Football National Championship. At the Parade of Champions in 2004, Baton Rouge celebrated conference wins by both teams.
Fans and students alike came together on LSU’s campus for a city-wide tailgate before the big moment – kick off. This was the first time in LSU’s history that they have played an HBCU. The event had a tremendous turnout, having 102,321in attendance at Death Valley, according to officials. One of the key features of the match-up was the highly anticipated pre-game parade by Southern’s well-known “Human Jukebox” and LSU’s marching band which led the public into the stadium.
“This tailgate was one of the biggest ones I had ever seen on LSU campus since I was there in 2017,” said Tierni Savoie, an LSU Health New Orleans School of Nursing student.
“Southern students and alumni showed out today with their school colors, tents, and RVs. Even with it being hot and humid, that did not stop them all from coming to LSU’s campus to cheer on their football team. I definitely loved seeing the HBCU representation on LSU’s campus,” Savoie said.
At the end of the game, despite hopes for an upset from the HBCU underdogs in the match-up, the home team won 65-17, bringing the classic to a close, but not before both marching bands performed a unifying half-time show that created the 225-zip code as a band formation.
“This historic weekend was electrifying. I felt a great deal of pride having an opportunity to tailgate with my peers. It was beautiful having everyone together in one place,” said Shaylynn Bivens, a Southern University Law Center student.