MONTGOMERY, Ala. | The Grambling State University football team was held to just four first downs in the first half, but the Tigers were able to grind out a 24-7 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) victory over Alabama State on Saturday afternoon at ASU Stadium.
“Alabama State is a good football team and they played extremely well,” Grambling State head coach Broderick Fobbs said. “We struggled to get the offense going, but that happens when playing one of the best defenses in the conference. Now we get some time to rest some players and focus on the Bayou Classic and a showdown with an excellent Southern team.”
The Grambling State offense couldn’t get much going early in the first half and the defense was able to hold Alabama State to just a pair of field goal attempts. However, the Hornets walked away with no points after a pair of blocks by Marchael Jackson and De’Aumante Johnson.
Despite not getting much going offensively, the Tigers were able to get into the red zone, courtesy of a 23-yard interception return to set up Grambling State at the Hornets 1-yard line. Just one play later, Martez Carter punched in the touchdown from one-yard out to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 3:43 remaining in the opening quarter.
Grambling State (9-1 overall, 6-0 SWAC) forced Alabama State to punt the football with 1:43 remaining in the first half and the Tigers went to work with the two-minute drill. Despite two straight incomplete passes, Devante Kincade connected with Jordan Jones for 35 yards to set up shop at the Hornets’ 19. After picked up a first down with his legs, Kincade hit Calif Samon for a 7-yard touchdown strike to give the Tigers a 14-0 advantage with 35 seconds left in the half.
After an Alabama State punt backed Grambling State to its own 18 and on the very next play, Carter broke free for a 59-yard run to set up shop at the Hornets’ 23. But the Tigers’ drive stalled out, but Grambling State got a 41-yard field goal by Marc Orozco to extend the advantage to 17-0 with 8:40 remaining in the third.
Grambling State put the game away midway through the fourth quarter as the Tigers marched 92 yards in 13 plays as Kincade tossed his second touchdown pass, a 44-yard strike to Devohn Lindsey to extend the advantage to 24-0 with 7:14 left.
The Hornets (3-6, 3-3) quickly answered as Alabama State went 77 yards in five plays as Darryl Pearson, Jr., connected with Ezra Gray for a 10-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 24-7 with 5:09 remaining.
With the Tigers offense not getting much going, it was the defense that led to the first score.
Alabama State began the drive on its own 24, but Darryl Pearson, Jr.’s pass was picked off by De’Andre Hogues and returned 23 yards to the Hornets’ 1-yard line. With the offense taking the field, Martez Carter rushed straight up the middle and into the endzone to give Grambling State a 7-0 first-quarter lead.
The Tigers didn’t look back in the 24-7 victory.
Inside the Numbers
· Grambling State was held to a season-low four first downs in the first half.
· The Tigers registered 93 yards on 28 plays in the opening half, including 70 of those yards through the air.
· Alabama State recorded 87 total yards of offense in the first half and five first downs.
· Devante Kincade was 17-of-27 passing for 205 yards and two touchdowns.
· Devante Kincade rushed 18 times for 24 yards.
· Martez Carter tallied 85 yards on 14 carries, including a 59-yard carry in the third quarter.
· Calif Samon caught four passes for 39 yards.
· Martez Carter finished with four receptions for 32 yards.
· Marc Orozco was 1-for-1 on field goals and 3-for-3 on extra point attempts.
· De’Arius Christmas registered eight tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss.
· Percy Cargo, Jr., tallied six tackles, including five solo stops.
· Darryl Pearson, Jr., was 7-of-18 passing, with one interception, for 95 yards.
· Ezra Gray rushed 11 times for 43 yards.
· Willis White caught four passes for 73 yards.
· Kurron Ramsey finished with seven tackles, while Joshua Hill and Malik Bridgers added six.
· The Tigers finished with 321 total yards of offense on 67 plays.
· The Hornets garnered 217 total yards in 54 plays.
· Grambling State held Alabama State to 95 yards passing.
· The Tigers were 9-of-19 in third-down conversions.
· Grambling State was penalized two times for 10 yards.
News & Notes
· Alabama State attempted two field goals in the first quarter and walked away with zero points as the Tigers blocked both attempts.
· Grambling State came into the game ranked No. 11 in the FCS Coaches Preseason Poll and No. 13 in the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll, No. 1 in the SBN Sports Network Black College Football Poll and No. 2 in the BOXTOROW Coaches and Media Poll.
· Grambling State wore its white jerseys with gold pants on Saturday and improved to 4-1 when wearing those jerseys during the Broderick Fobbs era.
· Broderick Fobbs improved to 3-1 all-time against Alabama State.
· Grambling State improved to 27-13 all-time against Alabama State.
· The Tigers have won nine straight after losing to Tulane to begin the season.
· Grambling State remains one-game up over rival Southern in the SWAC West Division standings
· The winner of the 44th Annual Bayou Classic on Nov. 25 will advance to the 2017 SWAC Championship game in Houston, Texas.
· Alcorn State clinched a spot in the SWAC Championship after a victory over Alabama A&M on Saturday.
· Saturday’s game was broadcasted live on the SWAC Digital Network.
Grambling State takes a week off for preparation for the 44th Annual Bayou Classic against Southern on Nov. 25. The Tigers and Jaguars have been on a collision course this season and the winner of that game will advance to the 2017 SWAC Championship on Dec. 2 in Houston, Texas.
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