A year, three coaches and a truckload of controversy later, Grambling State finally played Jackson State Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson, Miss., and the G-Men came away with 40-35 victory in the SWAC opener for both teams.
Last year’s game, Jackson State’s Homecoming contest, was postponed when Grambling players refused to make the trip in protest of the firing of Coach Doug Williams and the poor condition of their locker room facilities.
That led to defensive coordinator Dennis “Dirt’’ Winston being named interim coach, replacing running backs coach George Ragsdale, who replaced Williams on an interim basis. Ragsdale never coached a game and the team boycotted practice during most of his watch.
Former Grambling running back and McNeese State assistant coach Broderick Fobbs was hired during the offseason and got his first victory since taking over the G-Men with the win against Jackson State. The win didn’t come easy for the G-Men (1-3, 1-0 SWAC).
They had to survive an air raid by Jackson State quarterback Montiez Ivy, who threw for a career high 407 yards and four touchdowns. Jackson State (2-2, 0-1 SWAC) was threatening to take the lead with the ball at Grambling’s 40-yard line in the final minute.
But a botched center snap resulted in the Tigers’ fifth turnover of the game and enabled the G-Men to escape with the win. Grambling converted three of the five turnovers into points.
The G-Men led by double digits most of the second half, despite giving up 407 total yards. Fortunately, the defense repeatedly gave the G-Men’s offense good field position by forcing turnovers.
The offense reciprocated by taking advantage when they got a short field – they had two scoring drives of four yards each – and not turning the ball over.
The G-Men were not nearly as explosive on offense as Jackson State, which also got a 171-yard, three-touchdown performance from wide receiver Dan Williams and a 108-yard receiving game from Devin Fosselman. But they were efficient and controlled the clock as they held the ball for more than 33 minutes..
Quarterback Stephen Johnson threw for 184 yards and three touchdowns, completing 20 of his 34 throws. The G-Men used 10 ball-carriers to rush for 137 yards.
“Grambling is a good football team,’’ said head coach Harold Jackson, whose team lost its second consecutive game after a 2-0 start. “That was not a 0-3 team we played tonight.’’
Other Key Games:
Alabama State 42, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 7 – Malcolm Cyrus once again ran around, through and away from the opposition as the Hornets posted a home SWAC victory. The senior running back gained 188 yards and scored a career-high three touchdowns as the Hornets (3-1, 2-0 SWAC) topped the 40-point mark for the second consecutive week.
It was Cyrus’ third straight game with 170 or more rushing yards. He scored on runs 14, 1 and 11 yards. The Hornets led 42-0 before the Golden Lions finally scored early in the fourth quarter on 79-yard pass from quarterback Benjamin Anderson to Marvante King. Alabama State scored twice on big plays. Quarterback Daniel Duhart connected with Demario Bell on a 68-yard touchdown pass and Joshua Davis sprinted 63 yards for touchdown.
The Hornets’ other touchdown came Khalid Thomas’ six-yard run. nderson was the lone bright spot for Arkansas-Pine Bluff. He threw for 183 yards and was the Golden Lions’ leading rusher with 80 yards.
Tennessee State 10, Tennessee Tech 7 – The Tigers used a stifling defense to register a home victory in their Ohio Valley Conference opener. The Big Blue (3-1) limited Tennessee Tech to just 150 total yards and forced the Golden Eagles to go three-and-out on five of their 16 offensive series. The defense, ranked No. 4 in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), scored the Tigers’ only touchdown, which came when safety Ronnie Vinson returned an interception 50 yards to the end zone, and it held the Golden Eagles scoreless.
Tennessee Tech got its only points on Austin Tallant’s 29-yard interception return for a touchdown. Lane Clark’s 26-yard field goal provided the Tigers with the winning margin. Backup quarterback Ronald Butler started in place of Michael German, who suffered a turf toe injury in the Tigers’ victory against Jackson State last week. Without him, Big Blue had trouble moving the ball. The offense has not scored a touchdown in 66 minutes, 46 seconds of game time.
South Carolina State 17, Furman 7 – The Bulldogs used an unrelenting running game to overpower the visiting Paladins, ranked No. 1 in the FCS, in a non-conference contest.
Senior Jalen “Scoot’’ Simmons ran for 127 yards as the Bulldogs (2-2) rushed for 232 yards and ended a two-game losing streak. Dondre Lewis-Freeman contributed 70 yards to the Bulldogs’ rushing total. Coach Buddy Pough leaned on the Bulldogs’ running game to ease the pressure on backup quarterback TeDarius Wiley, who started in place of the injured Adrian Kollock Jr. Wiley had an efficient performance, completing eight of 17 passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs’ defensive effort made it possible for them to play conservatively on offense. They held Furman to just 61 yards on the ground and kept the Paladins from converting on 12 of 15 third down attempts.
Alcorn State 52, Miss. Valley State 9 – The Braves topped the 50-mark for their third time in four games this season en route to a win in their SWAC opener in Itta Bena, Miss. The Braves (3-1, 1-0 SWAC) racked up 423 total yards and led 35-0 at the half thanks to a 21-point outburst in the second quarter. The Braves wore down the Delta Devils (1-3, -2) with their running game, which produced 298 yards. Four ball-carriers ran for at least 50 years, led by Arron Baker with 79 yards and two touchdowns.
Anthony Williams III ran for 58 yards; quarterback John Gibbs had 57 and Darryan Ragsdale had 51. Gibbs also passed for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Morgan State 38, Howard 35 – The Bears survived a spectacular performance by Bison quarterback Greg McGhee for a MEAC victory in the 42nd New York Urban League Classic at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. McGhee had more than 300 yards total offense and scored three rushing touchdowns, but it was not enough to subdue the Bears (2-2, 1-0 MEAC).
The Bears scored the winning points on Chris Molliers’s 38-yard field goal with 28 seconds left in the game. Howard had tied the score minutes earlier when McGhee led the Bison on a 73-yard, 13-play scoring drive that ended with William Parker’s 10-yard touchdown run with 2:27 remaining.
Hampton 34, Miles 30 – The Pirates won for the first time this season under first-year Coach Connell Mayner thanks to a career day by quarterback Bryan Bailey. He passed for 267 yards and three touchdowns, both career highs as the Pirates (1-3) held off the Division II Golden Bears (1-2). The Pirates led the entire game, but Miles stayed within striking distance thanks to a balanced offense. The Golden Bears rang up 473 yards total offense.
Quarterback Demetric Price matched Bailey’s passing effort with 289 yards and three touchdowns. Jonathan Clark paced the Golden Bears ground attack, which generated 184 yards, with 100 yards. Hampton finally sealed the victory when Anthony Prevost booted a 29-yard field goal with 1:24 left in the game, which put the Pirates ahead 34-24. Prevost’s kick came after the Golden Bears turned the ball over on downs at their 15-yard line. Miles added another touchdown for the final margin on an 11-yard pass from Price to Michael Ross.
Winston-Salem State 24, Tuskegee 13 – The Rams, No. 18 in Division II, pulled it together in the second half for a non-conference victory. The score was tied 10-all at the half. After holding the Golden Tigers (1-2) to three-and-out to start the second half, the Rams (2-1) put together an 18-play drive that took almost nine minutes off the clock. The drive ended with a two-yard touchdown run by quarterback Phillip Sims on fourth down. The Rams controlled the game the rest of the way and sealed the victory with Maurice Lewis’ five-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. The Golden Tigers’ only points in the second half came on Trevor Wylie’s 29-yard field goal late in the third quarter that cut Winston-Salem’s lead to 17-13.
Buffalo 36, Norfolk State 6
Central Florida 41, Bethune-Cookman 3
Coastal Carolina 48, Florida A&M 3
North Carolina A&T 59, Chowan 0
Temple 59, Delaware State 0
Towson 31,North Carolina Central 20
Texas Southern 45, Alabama A&M 23
Southern 34, Prairie View A&M 24
CIAA Clarion 27, Cheyney 6
Concord 37, Bowie State 34
Livingstone 60, Virginia-Lynchburg 12
Montclair State 27, Lincoln (Pa.) 14
Shaw 20, UNC Pembroke 17
Virginia State 16, Kentucky State 13
Virginia Union 25, Fayetteville State 13
West Georgia 49, Johnson C. Smith 0
SIAC Benedict 20, Elizabeth City State 19
Fort Valley State 19, Clark Atlanta 18
Lane 18, Paine 16, OT
Morehouse 43, Central State 0
Stillman 37, Saint Augustine’s 19
West Liberty 38, West Virginia State 16
Houston Baptist 72, Texas College 6
Lincoln (Mo.) 42, Quincy 13
North Alabama 56, Langston 7
Southeastern University 59, Concordia-Selma 16