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Southern To Play McNeese in 2010; Four-Year Deal Close on Gulf Coast Classic
Southern and McNeese State finally schedule the game cancelled in 2005 from Hurricane Rita, and Southern and Alabama State are close to inking a 4-year deal for the Gulf Coast Classic.
Southern’s return date to play a football game at McNeese State is finally in sight, though still a few years away.
The Jaguars and the Cowboys are now scheduled to play Sept. 18, 2010, in Lake Charles.
Southern and McNeese State were to have played Sept. 3, 2005, in Lake Charles, but that game was called off in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which hit south Louisiana and the Gulf Coast earlier that week.
“I am very excited about this opportunity,” McNeese State Athletic Director Tommy McClelland said in a statement released by McNeese. “Cowboy fans had long desired and deserve this return game. Now, we have a date to look forward to.
“I want to thank (Southern Athletic Director) Greg LaFleur for his help in making this happen. Although Southern owed us this return game per the original contract, it still took a lot of effort on his part to make it happen.”
Southern and McNeese met for the first time in the 2004 season opener, with McNeese winning 35-17 in Baton Rouge.
The teams were to complete the two-year contract in 2005, but Hurricane Katrina disrupted those plans.
“It was hard (to schedule), because when we had the (Southwestern Athletic Conference’s) nine-game schedule, we couldn’t agree to a date,” LaFleur said.
“And then when we went to the seven-game schedule (starting this season), the conference gave us up to 2010 to (work with), that was the only time McNeese and us had a date that was comparable to one another.”
Gulf Coast Classic
In other scheduling news, Southern and Alabama State appear to be getting close to signing a four-year deal to play in the Gulf Coast Classic in Mobile, Ala. That contract would begin this season, with a Nov. 15 game.
Southern has yet to sign the contract to play the Gulf Coast Classic, LaFleur said.
“It looks like it’s 99 percent sure that it’s going to happen,” LaFleur said.
LaFleur said the City of Mobile is organizing the game.
In order to accommodate the start of the contract, Southern is giving up its home date this season and in 2010. However, according to LaFleur, the payoff will come in a generous pay date as well as getting paid to play when the game is Alabama State’s home game.
SU coach Pete Richardson said the Jaguar Nation’s rich tradition of following on the team on the road also helps make moving a home game palatable.
“You can say it’s not a home site, but then we’ll have so many folks there,” Richardson said. “Playing on the road is not as bad as most people think it is, because of our fan base. Plus, (being on the road) helps us out a lot, by getting the players focused, away from the distractions at home.”
SU beat Alabama State 21-2 in front of 16,130 at the Gulf Coast Classic on Sept. 29.
“All of our fans enjoy going to Mobile,” LaFleur said. “You can stay overnight or you can go home. That’s the good part about it.”
Alabama State, in Montgomery, Ala., traditionally plays in the game year after year and many times the Hornets stage their home game with Southern at the Gulf Coast Classic. SU last played in Montgomery in 2004.
SU continued spring practice Tuesday, with RB Kendrick Smith (foot) seeing his first action. … DE Vince Lands (knee) remains out. Richardson said Lands might return in the final week of spring practice. Westley King, who had been playing a lot at DT, has been working back at DE in Lands’ absence. … LB Allan Baugh (knee) is expected back next week. … SU returns to practice today and will go again Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.
SU, McNeese football to meet in 2010
By Joseph Schiefelbein, The Advocate