NEW ORLEANS - A fourth down goal line stand by the Southern University defense with 1:43 left in the contest proved to be the difference as the Grambling State Tigers dropped Bayou Classic XXXIII 21-17 before a crowd of 47,136 at the New Orleans Superdome. With Southern holding a 14-7 lead in the third quarter, kick returner Keantwon Gray returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to the 42-yard line of Southern. Taking advantage of good field position, GSU quarterback Brandon Landers, the GSU Bayou Classic MVP, completed 3-of-5 passes and added an 11-yard rush to drive GSU to the SU 6. After a Southern sack which drove GSU six yards back, Tiger running back Ab Kuuan closed the gap to 14-13 with a 12-yard touchdown with nine seconds left in the quarter. Placekicker Tim Manuel added the extra point to tie the game at 14-all. On the next drive, Southern worked its way to the Grambling State 24-yard line but the drive stalled after Breck Ackley missed a 41-yard field goal. Two plays into GSUs drive, wide receiver Henry Tolbert broke free for 48 yards after catching a Landers pass to move the Tigers to the Jaguars 26-yard line. Unfortunately, the Tiger offense stalled at that point and they were forced to attempt a 36-yard field goal which was nailed by Manuel to give GSU a 17-14 lead with 11:18 left in the fourth quarter. The Tiger defense stepped up on their next drive and forced SU to punt. However, GSU punt returner Landry Carter bobbled the punt and the Jaguars recovered the ball at the GSU 12. Two plays later, SU running back Kendall Addison put SU ahead 21-17 after scoring on a two-yard run at the 8:10 mark of the fourth quarter. Down by four points, the Tigers rode the arm of Landers and the legs of Kuuan during a fourth quarter drive that saw Grambling State drive all the way to Southerns 11-yard line in seven plays. Needing a touchdown to move ahead with four downs remaining and the potential to earn another first down, Kuuan and Landers combined to rush for nine yards and ended up at the SU 2. On fourth-and-one with 1:50 left in the game, Kuuan attempted to find a hole through the GSU line but was stopped for a loss of two yards. SU took possession of the ball with 1:43 remaining and ran out the clock to secure the victory and break a two-game losing streak in the Bayou Classic. For the game, Grambling State netted 238 (169 P, 69 P) yards of total offense while Southern finished with 385 (254 P, 131 R) yards. Grambling State (3-7) will close out the season next weekend at home against Alcorn State while SU (5-6) concludes its season.
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