Saturday, November 26, 2016

Walker: Another big day for Southern's Lenard Tillery, but this Bayou Classic didn't end how he was hoping

NEW ORLEANS -- The walk-on walked off the field for the final time Saturday.

This wasn’t quite the way Lenard Tillery envisioned his college career ending.

He surely would have traded every last one of the 230 yards he rushed for Saturday for a win that would have extended his college career another week and sent Southern traveling west down Interstate 10 to Houston for the SWAC championship game next Saturday.

Instead, the Jaguars were on the wrong end of a 52-30 loss, far more lopsided than anyone expected in this battle of SWAC unbeatens for the 43rd installment of the Bayou Classic.

Tillery, whose goal was to go out with a SWAC title, will have to settle for the SWAC ring he won in 2013. He took his No. 21 jersey off for the final time, finishing his career with more yards than any other player in SWAC history.

And, yes, that includes the late Walter Payton, the Jackson State star who went on to a career that earned him a gold blazer and a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Not bad for a guy who just five years ago wasn’t considered good enough for a scholarship when he graduated from McKinley High School. He ended up walking on at his hometown school.


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