National and International News
2023 Southern Heritage Classic
by Phillip Williams
UAPB/AM&N National Alumni Board Member, UAPB Metro Atlanta Alumni Chapter
Saturday September 09, 2023, marked the inaugural year and entry of the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions to the Southern Heritage Classic, to face off against Tennessee State University Tigers. The Southern Heritage Classic began more than 30 years ago in 1990 – bringing fans from across the nation to Memphis, Tn. To watch HBCU football every September. The classic is truly a cultural celebration, connecting the spirit of young and old.
Traditionally, the Southern Heritage Classic would pit Jackson State University against Tennessee State University. The University of Arkansas Pine Bluff replaced JSU, when JSU opted out of the last two years of a five-year contract, giving UAPB entry to the classic for 2023 and 2024 seasons.
UAPB’s inaugural year into the classic came with much anticipation and some skepticism from our opponent – TSU tigers. The chatter on multiple social media platforms from the TSU fan base, was that UAPB fans do not travel well, and we would not show up for this classic! Well, let’s just put that to rest- as the event attendance reached 32,518 – meeting the expectations of the classic’s founder and our UAPB Memphis Alumni chapter leadership.
As far as the contest on the field, with under a minute to play – UAPB seemed to be on track of mounting a tremendous fourth quarter comeback. Instead, a blocked field goal, which was returned for a touchdown, resulted in the Golden Lions falling to TSU 24- 14.