December 2, 2017 - Contributed by: Brian Howard, Grambling Sports Information Director
HOUSTON, Texas | The Grambling State University football team scored 28 unanswered second-quarter points as the Tigers held on and survived a late Alcorn State rally to capture their second consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championship, 40-32, on Saturday night at NRG Stadium.
"We played exceptionally well in the first half, except of the muff punt we had," Grambling State head coach Broderick Fobbs said. "We didn't play as well as I would have liked in the second half. Alcorn State has a tremendous program and I knew they would keep fighting. That is what champions do. Now we get two weeks to rest our players and get prepared for the Celebration Bowl."
Grambling State began with the football and started its opening drive at 10, but a delay of game penalty backed the Tigers up five yards to the 5-yard line.
GSU went to work as Kincade connected with Martez Carter for eight yards and on third down to Calif Samon for 21 yards. After Carter was stopped for no gain, Quintin Guice caught a 46-yard pass from Kincade to set up shop at the Alcorn State 20. Two plays later, Kincade scored on a 15-yard run to give the Tigers a 7-0 advantage with 12:06 left in the opening quarter.
Alcorn State, which went 80 yards in eight plays, answered the opening Grambling State drive by using the ground game as the Braves punched the ball in from the 2-yard line on a rushing touchdown by De'Lance Turner to tie the game at 7 with 7:50 remaining in the first.
After going three-and-out on the next series, the Tigers punted the ball, but got it right back after Alcorn State's Jalen Richardson muffed the kick as Bryce Williams recovered the loose ball at the Braves' 34.
Grambling State was unable to move the ball as Marc Orozco booted a career-long 48-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 10-7 lead with 5:28 remaining.
After stopping the Braves on their next series, the Tigers turned the ball over as Malik Route fumbled trying to scoop up a punt and Alcorn State's Damien Anderson recovered at the Tigers' 40. The Braves cashed in off the turnover as Corey McCullough kicked a 21-yard field goal to tie the game at 10 with 1:30 remaining in the first quarter.
The Tigers appeared to go three-and-out on their next offensive series, but Miguel Mendez faked the punt and rushed eight yards for a first down at the Grambling State 41. The Tigers capitalized on the fake punt and went 59 yards in 10 plays as Carter scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to give Grambling State a 17-10 advantage with 11:27 remaining in the first half 31-10 with
After forcing an Alcorn State punt, Grambling State went to work at its own 39 and the Tigers marched 61 yards in eight plays as Kincade connected with Jordan Jones for a 15-yard touchdown pass to extend the advantage to 24-10.
Grambling State was just getting starting as the De'Andre Hogues forced a Braves fumble and the Tigers went right back to work. Kincade hit the spin button and dove for the end zone to complete a four-play, 46-yard drive. Kincade was initially ruled down on the play, but after review of the replay, the play was overturned as the Tigers led 31-10 with 4:42 remaining.
After forcing a punt by Alcorn State, Grambling State took over at its own 25 with 3:08 remaining in the first half. The Tigers proceeded to march 75 yards in six plays as Guice caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Kincade to give the Tigers a commanding 38-10 lead right before the break.
Alcorn State twice had an opportunity in the third quarter to cut the deficit, but the Braves turned the ball over on downs and McCullough's 21-yard field goal banked off the left upright and away to keep the Tigers advantage at 28 points.
Grambling State put the final touches on the night just five seconds into the fourth when Turner was tackled in the end zone by Brandon Varner for a safety as the Tigers pushed the advantage to 40-10 with 14:55 remaining.
The Braves added a 34-yard touchdown as Lenorris Footman connected with Norlando Neals for the score with 12:53 remaining to cut the deficit to 40-17.
Alcorn State scored two more touchdowns and converted a two-point conversion to cut the margin to 40-32. The Braves had one more final opportunity to attempt to tie the game, but Footman's hail may fell short as the Tigers escaped with the win.
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