Not that recent events didn’t have Grambling football fans looking ahead to the fall 2021 season already, but it got easier when the conventional 11-game schedule beginning in September was announced on Monday.
It flew under the radar, but next fall’s slate includes back-to-back visits to 2020 FBS bowl participants Southern Mississippi (Sept. 11) and Houston (Sept. 18) and an opening meeting in the shadow of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, against Tennessee State on Sunday, Sept. 5.
The Pro Football Hall has been extremely supportive of the Black College Football Hall of Fame, and the contest in Canton is billed as the Black College Hall of Fame Classic. Grambling icons James Harris and Doug Williams have been catalysts for the development of the Black College Hall.
Grambling’s fall 2021 schedule includes three home games: Oct. 2 against Alabama A&M, Oct. 16 against Texas Southern for homecoming, and Nov. 13 against new Southwestern Athletic Conference member Bethune-Cookman.
The Bayou Classic is slated for Nov. 27 in New Orleans.
Before this rocky spring season began, Tigers’ coach Broderick Fobbs said he was excited about several additions to arrive this summer to bolster a squad that he expected to develop during the six-game schedule ending April 17 with the Bayou Classic at Shreveport’s Independence Stadium.
Now, due to the COVID-19 halt to football activities by the Tigers, that spring showdown with Southern is the lone remaining outing for GSU until the fall.
BASEBALL: Just when Grambling was getting on a roll, it’s forced into a weekend off due to Prairie View’s COVID-19 issues. The Tigers have won four in a row, including their first road win, 9-7 Wednesday night over Jackson State.
Grambling will resume its schedule at home at 6 p.m. Tuesday against Louisiana-Monroe at Wilbert Ellis Field at R.W.E. Jones Park.
After notching three one-run SWAC wins last weekend over Texas Southern, a six-run third inning put Grambling (4-12) ahead to stay against JSU, although it wasn’t a comfortable lead for long. JSU posted a four-run bottom of the third to close within 6-5 but the G-Men immediately added a pair in the top of the fourth.
Cameron Bufford drove in three RBIs for the Tigers, who got three hits from Jeremy Almaguer and Jordyn Smith. Antoine Valerio calmed Jackson State in a 5 2/3 inning relief outing, allowing only single runs in the fifth and seventh innings to help the G-Men stay on top.
SOFTBALL: Today’s home contest against Mississippi Valley State will be played at the Ruston Sports Complex, Field C1, because the Grambling campus is closed for water system repairs. First pitch is 3 p.m.
The Lady Tigers (4-7, 1-1) will return to their homefield, the GSU Softball Complex, for Saturday’s noon doubleheader.
Wednesday on the road, Grambling rode two home runs by Morgan Adams to a 7-0 lead at Jackson State, then held off a big sixth-inning rally for a 7-6 victory to salvage a split of a SWAC doubleheader. JSU won the opener 12-4.
Adams, a junior, cracked two-run homers in the fourth and fifth innings, and freshman Sherrell Matthews added a two-run shot in the fourth for Grambling. All of Jackson State’s scoring was unearned as Grambling committed four errors, three in the bottom of the sixth.
Jackson State had the tying run in scoring position in each of the last two innings but Grambling came up with the stops both times.
VOLLEYBALL: The SWAC Tournament begins today in Birmingham, with Grambling (8-8, 5-6) meeting Southern at 1:30 p.m. at the Birmingham CrossPlex in a single-elimination, three-day bracket.