MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It might look a little different this year than in years past, but that’s not taking away from the excitement of the Southern Heritage Classic. It’s actually adding to it. 

They may be new to the Southern Heritage Classic, but they’re certainly not shy about it.

“We’re going do it like we do it,” said Chris Cooper of Chicago. “We’re going to show them what the real roar is, and that is the UAPB.” 

For the first year, Tennessee State faced off against the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff in the Classic after Jackson State pulled out of the event last year.

 New blood meant a new energy that Tennessee State fans welcomed.

“It’s very exciting, it’s electrifying. It is igniting,” Sandra Hunt said. “This is what the tiger spirit of the Tennessee State University is all about.”

Fans of both teams from all over the country flocked to Memphis for the occasion, cheering on their teams, while getting in the Memphis spirit and supporting local businesses too. 

“We are really busy during the summertime when there’s a lot of people in town for different things, but when school starts, it typically slows down a little bit. We’re still busy compared to a lot of restaurants because we are Rendezvous, but when big games like the Southern Heritage Classic come to town, it really really makes a difference for us,” said Dean Reese, who is a server at The Rendezvous.

For Memphians, in particular, it’s a chance to show off all the great things the city has to offer.

“With as many negative things we can say that go on here, it adds a spark,” one fan said. “Revenue, positivity, just so many different things that it brings.”