Eddie Robinson, the legendary coach who made Grambling State a household, created a mystique around the G-Men and the belief that they’re never out of a game.
Saturday, the G-Men put on a show against defending Black College champion and No. 1 ranked Alcorn State that would have made Robinson proud. The G-Men rallied from a 28-point halftime deficit and spoiled the Braves’ Homecoming with a 35-34 overtime victory in a battle of SWAC division leaders.
“Those kids fight, they fight; they kept fighting,’’ said Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs, who played under Robinson. “They thought they were burying us. But they didn’t know we were a seed; we’re coming from the ground. We’re Grambling. That’s just the way we are. We’re Grambling; we‘re going to fight.”
Grambling (5-2, 5-0) secured the victory when defensive tackle D’Angelo Butler-Gatson blocked Haiden McCradey’s extra point attempt that would have tied the game and forced a second overtime.
The score was tied 28-28 at the end of regulation. Grambling got the ball first in overtime, and running back Martez Carter, who rushed for 132 yards for his third 100-plus yard game of the season, scored a touchdown. Alcorn (4-2, 4-1 SWAC) matched the score, setting the stage for Butler-Gatson’s heroics.
Grambling took a 6-0 first-half lead on a pair of field goals by Marc Orozco. Alcorn struck back and went ahead 14-6. Grambling pulled even on Johnathan Williams’ 32-yard touchdown pass to Chad Williams and a two-point conversion.
North Carolina A&T 24, Bethune-Cookman 14 – The Aggies handed the Wildcats their first MEAC loss of the season with a home victory. The win, coupled with Hampton’s a win over Morgan State, gives North Carolina A&T sole possession of first place in the conference. Running back Tarik Cohen had 116 rushing yards and scored a decisive touchdown to lead the Aggies (5-1, 3-0 MEAC), the preseason favorite to win the conference title after sharing it with four other teams last season. Bethune-Cookman (5-2, 3-1 MEAC) had 358 yards passing. Starting quarterback Quentin Williams threw for 191 yards and a touchdown, and reserve Larry Brihm had 167.
Junior wide receiver Jawill Davis was their favorite target. He had 103 yards on six catches. But the Wildcats ground attack was ineffective. The Wildcats took an early 7-0 lead on Williams’ 82-yard touchdown pass to Jontavius Carter. North Carolina A&T responded with 17 unanswered points. Brihm scored on a seven-yard run in the opening minute of the fourth period to cut the Aggie’s lead to 17-14. Cohen gave the Aggies some breathing room with a 33-yard touchdown run on their next possession on a fourth-down-four play. The Wildcats’ final bid for a comeback ended when they were stopped on fourth-and-goal with just over two minutes remaining in the game. The loss ended a five-game winning streak for Bethune-Cookman.
Prairie View A&M 47, Southern 42 – The Panthers played Homecoming spoiler and knocked the Jaguars out of first place in the SWAC West Division with their victory. Prairie View running back Johnta Hebert, who played at Glen Oaks High in Baton Rouge, returned home and tormented the Jaguars with 284 all-purpose. Hebert had 284 all-purpose yards and scored four touchdowns as the Panthers (4-2, 4-1) propelled themselves into the thick of the West Division championship race. Hebert rushed 17 times for 114 yards and two touchdowns and caught 10 passes 170 yards and two more score. The loss was the first for Southern (3-3, 3-1 SWAC) in conference play in two years. Hebert’s performance overshadowed the passing duel between Southern quarterback Austin Howard and Prairie View’s Trey Green. Howard was 18-for-28 for 339 yards and two touchdowns; Green threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns while completing 20 of 37 attempts.
Hampton 20, Morgan State 10 – The Pirates dealt the Bears their first MEAC loss of the season and knocked them out of share of the conference lead with a road victory. Hampton (4-3, 3-2 MEAC) held Morgan State (3-3, 3-1 MEAC) to 276 yards total offense forced four turnovers. One of the turnovers resulted in a score for the Pirates when Darius Banks recovered the fumble and returned it 83 yards for touchdown that gave Hampton 14-0 lead with 12:34 left in the first half. Morgan State’s only touchdown came on a 66-yard punt return by Andrew King at 4:57 of the third quarter.
Alabama A&M 28, Jackson State 22 – The Bulldogs came from behind for a SWAC home victory that made Derrick McCall a loser in his debut as Jackson State’s interim coach. McCall replaced Harold Jackson, who was fired three days after the Tigers (1-5, 1-3 SWAC)’ 59-27 loss to Grambling. Jackson had a 6-11 record, including 5-7 last season, in less than two full seasons. McCall is a former Jackson State quarterback and was receivers coach on Jackson’s staff. Jackson State amassed 434 yards total offense against Alabama A&M (2-4, 2-2 SWAC). However, the Tigers were penalized nine times for 82 yards and managed just two touchdowns in six trips in the red zone.
Florida A&M 41, Delaware State 13 – The Rattlers snapped a seven-game losing streak with a Homecoming victory in a matchup of winless MEAC teams. Florida A&M (1-6, 1-3 MEAC), whose last previous win was also against Delaware State (0-6, 0- MEAC) had 374 total yards, but the Hornets were undone by five turnovers and several penalties that bogged down their offense. Quarterback Carson Royal threw three touchdowns and passed for 229 yards for the Rattlers, who are off to the worst start in school history. Linebacker Akil Blount, the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount, returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown.
North Carolina Central 39, Savannah State 22
C. State 49, Howard 10
Ala. State 31, Ark.-Pine Bluff 24
Texas Southern 49, Miss. Valley State 21
Bowie State 22, Virginia State 19
Elizabeth City State 28, Lincoln (Pa.) 10
Johnson C. Smith 37, Fayetteville State 20
Livingstone 41, Shaw 22
Lock Haven 56, Cheyney 20
Virginia Union 33, Chowan 14
Winston-Salem State 36, Saint Augustine’s 19
Albany State 38, Morehouse 0
Central State 21, Lane 0
Clark Atlanta 24, Benedict 3
Florida Tech 34, Fort Valley 7
Miles 16, Kentucky State 6
Tiffin 68, Concordia-Selma 13
Tuskegee 49, Stillman 20
Eastern Illinois 25, Tenn. 22, OT
Jacksonville 49, Edward Waters 28
Langston 23, SW Assemblies of God 20
Missouri S&T 40, Lincoln (Mo.) 23
Shepherd 46, West Va. State 17
Texas College 21, Bacone 20