One of the final scenes in the 1993 movie “The Fugitive” has U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (portrayed by Tommie Lee Jones) looking across his desk at the wily fugitive Dr. Richard Kimble (played by Harrison Ford), who has just been exonerated.
“It’s over,” says Jones, whose character has been chasing Kimble for weeks. “And you know, I’m glad.”
That sums up this odd Grambling football season, and Saturday’s 47th Bayou Classic.
The Tigers finish 0-4 on the field after a 49-7 defeat at the hands of Southern in Shreveport’s Independence Stadium.
Grambling’s first losing season under Broderick Fobbs was beset by a myriad of challenges that he will address for the final time this spring in his Zoom media conference this morning. The matchup against Southern (5-1, including a forfeit over Alcorn State) was a slow, steady domination by the Jaguars, who methodically scored 14 points in each of the first three quarters.
In the postgame press conference, Fobbs turned the page quickly after noting his admiration for the young men who took the field for him.
“Hats off to Southern University, they did an awesome job,” he said. “It is what it is, but we’re not going to hang our heads at Grambling.
“After the game I told my team that I’m proud of them. It sounds crazy, but I’m proud of them. It is very difficult to come to work every day and deal with what our kids have had to deal with, and some of the things that have been placed in front of them, and the mere fact that they were able to overcome all of that, and still have a positive attitude and still work hard and still come out here and compete the best that they possibly could.
“To me that’s a win. Wins are not always on the scoreboard. Of course we want to win football games and we want to win championships, but to me championships start from within, and when you do the kind of things that I saw our kids do in the last couple of weeks, it’s there. We just have to get the other pieces that are already on the way, and do what we’re supposed to do,” said Fobbs.
The Tigers’ touchdown came on a 13-yard Elijah Walker pass to Richardson at the end of a seven-play, 75-yard drive six minutes after halftime. The Tigers defense made the Jaguars march for every score, with the shortest drive 50 yards and six requiring 68 yards or more.
Grambling’s depleted offensive line was badly overmatched, and the Jaguars steadily stacked up 520 yards (288 passing) to just 208 for the Tigers. A Bayou Classic without bands and with fans socially distanced was equally atypical on the field.
BASEBALL: The Tigers’ roll was halted at Alabama State. Grambling had won 11 of its last 15 but was swept 16-6, 12-2 and 7-6 over the weekend in a SWAC series.
A four-run ninth inning fell just short for the G-Men (11-19, 8-4).
“We lost a tough one today. Those one-run losses seem to hurt more than the others,” said Tigers’ coach James Cooper. “We made some costly mistakes that allowed them to gain 90 feet and get in scoring position. It turned out to be the one run they needed today to secure the win.”
Grambling stays on the road to play Arkansas Tuesday evening and Texas Southern next weekend.
SOFTBALL: The Lady Tigers dropped both ends of a Sunday SWAC doubleheader to Texas Southern, 10-2 and 5-2, at the Ruston Sports Complex. Friday’s rains washed out the opening game of the series and forced the Saturday twinbill to shift days and location because the GSU Softball Complex was unplayable.
Grambling (7-12, 4-6) visits Louisiana Tech Wednesday evening at 6, then goes to Arkansas-Pine Bluff next weekend.