Prairie View Vs. Texas Southern: The Grudge Match Is Still Big As Ever

By Joe Booker
Updated: August 30, 2006

HOUSTON — After defeating arch-enemy Texas Southern the past two seasons, you can’t blame Prairie View fans if they come to town acting a little uppity and looking down their nose at Texas Southern fans. Mark down on your calendar to be at Reliant Stadium this Saturday at 7 p.m.

That is the date when the Prairie View Panthers and Texas Southern Tigers will renew their annual grudge match in the 22nd Annual Labor Day Classic. Folks, it is as big and as heated as it was since the Panthers defeated the Tigers 7-0 in 1946.

After both teams struggled in the late 70s and early 80s, the two schools got together and decide to open the season Labor Day weekend. This will be the 22nd Annual Labor Day Classic. It is a game and a half

The Prairie View marching band, led by the Black Foxes, and the Texas Southern Ocean of Soul marching bands makes this more than a game. It is a game and a half. No one goes to the concession stands when these two bands are on the field performing.

It matters who wins

A long time ago the late Notre Dame Sports Information Director Grantland Rice wrote these famous words, “it’s not if you won or loss, but how you play the game.”

For Prairie View and Texas Southern, it is important how you play the game, but most important is who won. Alumni of both schools hold this game up there with religion. For some, this game is a religion. Maybe this is why they have a prayer before kickoff.

This game means bragging rights. Tiger faithful have not bragged in two years. Both schools have been looking forward to this date since the last game, which was post-pone until Thanksgiving weekend, because of Hurricane Rita.

Panthers getting respect

After being picked for the doormat of the conference for so many years, the Panthers are finally getting some respect. They were picked to finish third in the Western Division by SWAC Coaches and Sports Information Directors.

Tigers banking on a stellar year

The past two seasons have been an enigma for the Tigers. Therefore, one question involving the Tigers this year is will they return to respectability? Rebuilding is not an option, but winning is.

When Coach Steve Wilson took over the job two years ago, he walked into some difficulty circumstances which were out of his control. Most of his players had graduated, failed or left.

Wilson also knows that old TSU diehards aren’t accepting excuses. It’s the results that count to them and it starts with beating arch enemy Prairie View.

For old Tiger diehards, losing to the Panthers is a Cardinal sin.


WHAT: 22nd Annual Labor Day Classic

WHEN: Saturday, September 2, 2006

WHERE: Reliant Stadium, Houston

KICKOFF: 7 p.m.


Texas Southern: Steve Wilson: at school (1-21), overall (79-88)

Prairie View: Henry Frazier: at school (34-38), overall (34-38)

2005 Records: PVU 3-6, 5-6: TSU 1-8, 1-10

Last year: PVU won 30-27.

Series History: TSU leads 39-20-1

Panther returning statistical leaders

RB Arnell Fontenot (849 ypg, 8 td), DB Hakeem Muhammed, (5 interceptions), PK Marion Sanchez (13-22 FG), P Eric Hernandez (38.5).

Tigers returning statistical leaders

RB Brent Wilson (1032 ypg, 10 td), LB Robert Napier (89 tackles), DB Javonne Murphy (4 interceptions).

NOTE: The Tigers also return 2004 All-SWAC safety Stacey Thomas, who missed last season with an injury.