Southern QB Ladarius Skelton won his third Bayou Classic MVP Award after leading them to a 49-7 win over Grambling in the COVID-19 spring version of this rivalry.
A spring remix to the mother of all Black College football classics was a reminder of how one of the great yet maligned quarterbacks in Southern University’s storied football history leaves an enduring legacy on Harding Blvd.
Jaguar Nation is part of the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s pack of cats that will turn on their quarterback’s faults instead of embracing his magnificence at the moment.
In the wild kingdom of SWAC Football fans and coaches, they will eat their young while keeping it movin’.
Skeleton’s career on the other side of Baton Rouge may have come to an end last Saturday in the COVID-19 induced spring remix of the Bayou Classic.
Skelton has never been as revered for his three years of unprecedented historic excellence the way Joe Burrow was for catching lightning in a bottle in 2019 on the other side of town.
LSU doesn’t play an in-state rival who they must beat which divides households like Alabama vs. Auburn. The Bayou Classic is the bragging rights bowl in the state, with all due respect to Tulane or La. Tech.
By the time Burrow transferred from Ohio St. and became the biggest football legend at LSU since Billy Cannon, Skelton had already won two SWAC West division titles.
Most important to Jaguar Nation was that he was 2-0 versus Grambling.
On Saturday, Skelton added a third by completing just 6 of 8 passes for 102 yards. He also scrambled for 76 yards and two touchdowns in Southern’s 49-7 blowout in Shreveport’s Independence Bowl Stadium.
He was more efficient than he was spectacular on a day where they smashed a team masking itself as the G-Men with the largest margin of victory in the rivalry since 1939.
Skelton has never lost a Bayou Classic as a starter and can now take his place in the crucible of Jaguar greats. He ended their three-game losing streak during his first Classic win and put a bow on his Era with a third Most Valuable Player award. He is the first player in the 47-year history since the rivalry was rebranded in 1974 to do that.
If the Spring remix was Skelton’s final game under center in Columbia blue and gold, he will be remembered as having changed the trajectory of the series. Southern now leads in Bayou Classic wins (24-23).
If he returns for one more season – since the NCAA is granting another year of eligibility – and adds a championship to his resume Skelton could earn G.O.A.T. status.
If not, he will never get his full props. Of course, Southern hasn’t named the field at A.W. Mumford Stadium in honor of former coach Pete Richardson either. That’s almost criminal considering he never lost a Bayou Classic to coach Eddie Robinson.
Richardson finished with a 134-62 overall record, 12 Bayou Classic wins, and four Heritage Bowl victories. Southern has won just one SWAC championship since his glorious era concluded after the 2009 season.
It would be classy to finally appreciate greatness in that part of the Bayou by giving roses to their great ones while they can smell them. It would also take the stench off the embarrassing saga of their former band director who recently took a plea deal for embezzling over $78,000 of college funds as the school was admonished in court for “a lack of institutional control”.