Two fourth-quarter touchdowns help Grambling beat Jackson State
But JSU is playing better as it begins SWAC East Division play
You might not have noticed it Saturday night, but Jackson State University could be the next team that makes some noise in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Eastern Division.
Jackson State did lose 36-21 to Grambling State and now sports an 0-3 record. But after a safety on the first play of the game, JSU stayed close the remainder of the contest until a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns by Grambling got the host Tigers the win at Eddie G. Memorial Stadium.
With the score 22-21 after three quarters, Grambling quarterback DeVante Kincade connected with Lyndemian Brooks on a 51-yard touchdown pass with 12:17 remaining in the game, and De’Arius Christmas recovered a JSU fumble and scored with 3:33 left to put the game out of reach.
Kincade, the preseason SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, also had a 13-yard touchdown run in the first half. He finished with 60 yards on eight carries and was 22-of-37 passing for 255 yards and two total touchdowns. GSU running back Martez Carter had 18 carries for 96 yards and a TD.
JSU coach Tony Hughes said his team’s critical mistake happened eight seconds into the first quarter when QB Brent Lyles mishandled the snap and the ball went out of the end zone for the safety.
“We gave them nine points before the buses were even shut off. You can’t do that on the road to the defending national champ and defending SWAC champs. But we came back and we fought back,” said Hughes.
Saturday’s game was the first time since 2012 that JSU played at Robinson Stadium, but it was considered a nonconference game since the SWAC changed the number of league games from nine to seven.
It also is likely to end the toughest part of the schedule for JSU, which plays Arkansas-Pine Bluff this Saturday.
“Being 0-3 is no fun, but at the same time we can regroup and be 1-0 in the SWAC next week, and that’s all that matters,” said Hughes, whose team also has lost 17-15 to Tennessee State and 63-0 to Texas Christian University.
Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs said his Tigers have the potential to be a really good football team this season, although they didn’t play their best, particularly in the first half on Saturday.
“It was good to get a victory tonight,” said Fobbs. “We didn’t play well, and we had a lot of mistakes and a lot of penalties. Coach [Tony] Hughes and his staff have done an excellent job, and at the end of the day they gave us all that we could handle. We were just able to grind out the victory.”
Fobbs considers JSU a top-tier team, and it’s possible the Tigers will see each other again in the conference title game Dec. 2 in Houston if they both win their divisions. Fobbs said Hughes has done a lot with the JSU football program in two years.
“One play here or there they beat Tennessee State, who is a top-five program, and then one play here or there you are talking about something totally different out here,” said Fobbs.
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