|Pelican Bowl (defunct)|
|Location||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Previous stadiums||Wallace Wade Stadium (1972)
Tulane Stadium (1974)
|Previous locations||Durham, North Carolina|
|Conference tie-ins||MEAC, SWAC|
The Pelican Bowl is a defunct NCAA Division II bowl game that pitted the conference champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) to determine the black college football national championship in the United States between 1972–75. The game was won by the SWAC opponent in all three editions of the bowl. Due to low attendance, the game folded following the 1975 contest.
The inaugural Pelican Bowl was originally scheduled to be played in Ace W. Mumford Stadium on the campus of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. However, due to campus unrest in the wake of an on-campus shooting on November 16, 1972, officials from both the SWAC and MEAC decided to move the game to another location. An announcement was officially made to move the game on November 21 to Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. The game marked the first bowl game played in the state of North Carolina since the 1942 Rose Bowl. In the inaugural contest Grambling College defeated North Carolina Central 56–6 to capture the 1972 black college football national championship.
The 1973 contest was scheduled to be played at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. However, in November 1973 league officials announced the cancellation of the game as a result of both unavailability of the stadium for the contest on December 1, in addition to the NCAA not officially sanctioning the game for play. In fall 1974, league officials announced the game had been officially sanctioned and would be played in New Orleans on December 7. Before 30,120 fans, Grambling captured its second Pelican Bowl championship with its 28–7 victory over South Carolina State. Although Grambling was selected as the consensus black college football national champion, they were unable to participate in the 1975 Pelican Bowl due to their forfeiting their game against Prairie View A&M. As such, SWAC athletic directors voted for Southern University to play in the contest against South Carolina State. Before a sparse crowd of 6,748 at the Louisiana Superdome, Southern was victorious 15–12. Due to the low attendance, the Pelican Bowl folded. In 1991, the concept of a postseason bowl game featuring the MEAC and SWAC was revived with the introduction of the Heritage Bowl.
For the 1972 contest, the North Carolina Central Eagles secured a berth first after defeating North Carolina A&T 9–7 to clinch the MEAC championship on November 18. The following week, the Grambling Tigers secured their spot in the bowl as SWAC champions with a loss by Alcorn A&M against Jackson State with whom they owned the tiebreaker. In the inaugural contest Grambling routed Central 56–6 in capturing the 1972 black college football national championship.
Grambling running back Rod Tureaud opened the scoring with touchdown runs of one and 56-yards to give the Tigers a 14–0 lead. Tureaud was injured later in the period, and his replacement Lee Fobbs answered with a 55-yard touchdown run to give Grambling a 21–0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Central opened the second quarter with their only points of the game coming on an eight-yard Garvin Stone touchdown pass to Jeff Inmon to cut the lead to 21–6 only to see Grambling respond with another pair of touchdowns before the half. Matthew Reed hit Jackie Jefferson for a 14-yard touchdown reception and Steve Dennis intercepted a Stone pass and returned it 70-yards for a score as time expired to give the Tigers a 35–6 lead at the half. After extending their lead to 42–6 in the third on a five-yard Reed pass to Oliver Alexander, Grambling scored another pair of touchdowns in the fourth. Herman Christophe scored on a 24-yard run and Eartha Reeves scored the game's final points in a one-yard run to make the final score 56–6. For their performances, Reed was selected as the offensive MVP and linebacker Walt Baisy was selected as the defensive MVP of the game.
For the 1974 contest, the South Carolina State Bulldogs entered the game as MEAC champions with an 8–3 record. The Grambling Tigers entered the game as SWAC champions, on a ten-game winning streak, with a 10–1 record. For the second time in as many contests Grambling was victorious, this time by a score of 28–7 in capturing the 1974 black college football national championship.
The game started with Grambling's Kenneth Chandler taking the opening kickoff 61-yards to the Bulldog 17-yard line. Three plays later, Doug Williams hit Dwight Scales for a 19-yard touchdown reception and a 7–0 lead. State had opportunities to score in the first, only to see Leroy Mason miss field goals of 49 and 48-yards. In the second quarter, the Tigers' defense reached the endzone after defensive tackle Robert Barber recovered a James Robinson fumble and returned it 34-yards for a 14–0 lead. Williams scored on an eight-yard run late in the second to give Grambling a 21–0 lead at the half. Early in the third, Williams again connected with Scales for a 26-yard touchdown reception and a 28–0 lead. The Bulldogs' scored their lone points in the fourth when Neeley Dunn scored on a one-yard run to make the finals score 28–7. For their performances, Williams was selected as the offensive MVP and Bulldog defensive tackle Robert Simms was selected as the defensive MVP of the game.
For the 1975 contest, the South Carolina State Bulldogs entered the game as MEAC champions for the second year in a row with an 8–1–1 record. The Southern Jaguars entered the game as SWAC champions with a 9–3 record. For the third time in as many contests the SWAC champion was victorious, this time it was Southern by a score of 15–12.
In a game dominated by both defenses, the Bulldogs scored a pair of second-quarter touchdowns following Jaguar fumbles on consecutive possessions. The first came on an eleven-yard Jessie Prather pass to Mickey Pringle, and the second came on a one-yard Jackie Reed run to take a 12–0 lead. State retained the lead through the fourth quarter when Southern scored a pair of touchdowns the lead late. Michael Bryant scored first on a ten-yard run and James Johnson hit Ronald Steele for a 29-yard touchdown reception with Bryant converting the two-point conversion to give the Jaguars the 15–12 victory.
|Year||SWAC Champion||Score||MEAC Champion||Venue||Attendance||Offensive MVP||Defensive MVP|
|1972||Grambling||56–6||North Carolina Central||Wallace Wade Stadium (Durham, NC)||22,500||Matthew Reed (Grambling QB)||Walt Baisy (Grambling LB)|
|1974||Grambling||28–7||South Carolina State||Tulane Stadium (New Orleans, LA)||30,120||Doug Williams (Grambling QB)||Robert Simms (SC State DT)|
|1975||Southern||15–12||South Carolina State||Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans, LA)||6,748|
- At the time of the bowl's creation in 1972, the NCAA was divided into the "University Division" and "College Division". The current three-division setup was established in 1973. The conferences that participated in this game eventually became Division I conferences, and their members' football programs now compete in the Football Championship Subdivision.
- AP Staff Reporters (November 21, 1972). "Game could switch to North Carolina". The Evening Herald (Rock Hill, SC). Associated Press. p. 7. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
- UPI Reporters (November 22, 1972). "Duke selected as bowl site". Star-News (Wilmington, NC). United Press International. p. 16. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
- AP Staff Reporters (December 3, 1972). "Grambling wins and claims title". New York Times. Associated Press. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
- AP Staff Reporters (November 10, 1973). "Pelican Bowl is canceled". The Miami News. Associated Press. p. 4B. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
- AP Staff Reporters (November 10, 1973). "Pelican Bowl is cancelled". Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC). Associated Press. p. A6. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
- "Black bowl game finds permanent home in Louisiana". Jet: p. 48. October 31, 1974. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Beck, James (December 8, 1974). "Grambling outdefenses State in Pelican Bowl". The News and Courier (Charleston, SC). p. 1B. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
- "Nearly called off, Pelican Bowl played; Southern wins". Jet: p. 48. January 22, 1976. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- Reese, Earnest (December 21, 1996). "Heritage Bowl struggling for acceptance". The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. p. 9H.
- The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). "Special Regular and Postseason Games: Pelican Bowl". 2010 NCAA Division II-III Football Records. NCAA.org. p. 108. Retrieved January 13, 2011.
- AP Staff Reporters (November 21, 1972). "North Carolina has three bowl teams". The News and Courier (Charleston, SC). Associated Press. p. 4B. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
- AP Staff Reporters (November 24, 1972). "Grambling backs into Pelican Bowl". Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC). Associated Press. p. B3. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
- AP Staff Reporters (December 3, 1972). "Grambling routes Central in Pelican Bowl, 56–6". The News and Courier (Charleston, SC). Associated Press. p. 4B. Retrieved January 11, 2011.
- Sanders, Steve (December 7, 1974). "S.C.State meets Grambling today". Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC). p. A6. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
- Sanders, Steve (December 8, 1974). "Grambling defeats S.C. State, 28–7". Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC). p. B1. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
- Staff Reporters (January 3, 1976). "S.C.State downed 15–12 in Pelican Bowl title". Afro-American (Washington, DC). p. 10. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
- AP Reporters (December 28, 1975). "Southern trips S.C. State 15–12". The News and Courier (Charleston, SC). Associated Press. p. 1B. Retrieved January 12, 2011.
- Timms, Leslie (December 28, 1975). "Southern comeback bumps State, 15–12". Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, SC). p. B1.