Prairie View A&M defeated Grambling State 22-16 in the 93rd State Fair Classic at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Saturday night, signaling that a changing of the guard in the SWAC Western Division could be at hand.
The Panthers (3-3, 2-0 SWAC) led from wire to wire en route to ending the two-time defending SWAC champion G-Men’s 26-game conference winning streak and beating them for the first time since 2013.
Prairie View won even though Grambling (1-3, 1-1 SWAC) held the Panthers’ two most explosive weapons in check relatively well. Quarterback Jalen Morton completed 23 of 34 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 62 more yards. But that was a sub-par performance for him compared to the 511 yards – which included a school record 255-yard rushing effort – and six touchdowns that he accounted for last week. Running back Dewonya Tucker, the leading rusher in all of Division I football, ran the ball 19 times for 72 yards.
The Panthers compensated for their offensive unit’s lack of fireworks with a stifling defensive effort. They held the G-Men without a touchdown until the fourth quarter; they harassed Grambling quarterbacks the entire time, registering 10 sacks with defensive end Willie Green accounting for three, and they held the G-Men to 42 rushing yards on 32 attempts. Grambling had 278 yards total offense and only averaged 3.3 yards a play.
Grambling’s only points through the first three quarters came on a safety when the G-Men tackled Tucker in the end zone for a one-yard loss and a safety late in the second quarter. Prairie View led 15-2 at the half on the strength of Morton’s first-quarter touchdown passes of 38-yards to Markcus Hardy and 80 yards to Tucker and Zach Elder’s 43-yard field goal in the second quarter. The Panthers’ final points came on four-yard touchdown pass from Morton to Zarian Holcomb in the third quarter.
Backup quarterback Geremy Hickbottom breathed life into Grambling’s offense when he entered the game in the fourth quarter. Hickbottom led the G-Men to a pair of touchdowns, and they recovered an onside kick following their second touchdown. But Panthers cornerback quashed their comeback hopes when cornerback Ju’Anthony Parker came up with an interception with 1:42 remaining to seal the win.
North Carolina A&T State 31, South Carolina State 16 – The Aggies regained their mojo after having their 15 game winning streak snapped in Week 4 with a home MEAC victory Thursday night. It wasn’t easy though. North Carolina A&T (3-1, 1-0 MEAC) had to overcome a 16-3 first half deficit – reeling off 28 unanswered points after starting the game in sloppy fashion. The Aggies pounded South Carolina State into submission with their running game. They generated 208 of their 311 rushing yards in the second half.
Running backs Marquell Cartwright and Jah-Maine Martin combined to hammer the winless Bulldogs (0-4, 0-1 MEAC) for 249 yards. Cartwright, the leading rusher in the MEAC with 456 yards, topped the 100-yard mark for the second time in three games with 157 yards. Martin chipped in with 92. Martin got the Aggies’ offense in gear with a 40-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter that cut South Carolina State’s lead to 16-10 at the half. Quarterback Lamar Raynard brought the passing game to the party in the second half with three touchdown passes. Raynard ended the game with 253 yards through the air while improving his record to 29-1 as the Aggies’ starter.
Morehouse 23, Kentucky State 21 – The Maroon Tigers used some second half magic for the second consecutive week as they came from behind to claim a road win that keeps them unbeaten. Morehouse (5-0, 1-0)) rallied from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit against Kentucky State (0-5, 0-2 SAIC) after coming from behind to beat Miles 23-21 on the final play a week ago. The Maroon Tigers’ 5-0 record gives them their best start since 2010 when they reached the Division II playoffs. Quarterback Jules St. Ge staked the Thorobreds to a 14-0 lead with touchdown passes of four and 24 yards to Demetrius Anderson and Jordan Level, respectively.
Morehouse chipped away at the lead. Santo Dunn scored on a seven-yard run that capped an 18-play, 80-yard drive that took 8 minutes, 41 seconds off the clock. Fernando Sdelamora booted a 36-yard field goal to make the score 14-10 at the half. The Maroon Tigers went ahead 16-10 in the third quarter when Dunn scored his second touchdown on a one-yard run, and they extended the lead to 23-14 on quarterback Michael Sims’ 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ryan Edwards. The Thorbreds made the game interesting when Malik Saunders scored on a seven-yard touchdown run with 4:32 remaining in the game.
Alcorn State 20, Southern 3 – The Braves were unwelcome guests as they spoiled the Jaguars’ Homecoming by defeating their SWAC rivals for the third consecutive year. Alcorn (3-2, 2-0 SWAC) won the contest in workmanlike fashion. They held Southern (2-3, 1-1 SWAC) to 139 total yards – 63 rushing and 76 passing – while pounding the Jaguars with a running game that produced 243 yards as four difference ball carriers gaining at least 50 yards. Quarterback Noah Johnson led Alcorn runners with 81 yards.
Alcorn got a pair of field goals from Corey McCullough, a one-yard touchdown run by De’Shawn Waller and a 36-yard interception return for a touchdown by Qwynterrrio Cole for its points. Southern avoided being shutout when M Fontenot kicked a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Bethune-Cookman 35, Savannah State 20
Florida A&M 55, North Carolina Central 14
Norfolk State 54, Delaware State 28
Alabama A&M 21, Jackson State 16
Florida International 55, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 9
Bowie State 20, Winston-Salem State 17
Elizabeth City State 24, Saint Augustine’s 17
Fayetteville State, 40, Chowan 38
Johnson C. Smith 50, Lincoln (Pa.) 13
Virginia State 34, Shaw 17
Virginia Union 52, Livingstone 19
Albany State 30, Miles 24
Benedict 24, Central State 14
Clark Atlanta 31, Allen 6
Tuskegee 17, Lane 8
Virginia-Lynchburg 31, Fort Valley State 14
Arizona Christian 31, Texas College 27
Charleston Southern 48, Hampton 14
Indianapolis 41, Lincoln (Mo.) 17
Keiser 27, Edward Waters 23
Langston 31, Wayland Baptist 20
Vanderbilt 31, Tennessee State 27
West Virginia State 31, Glenville State 17
- Chowan QB Bryce Witt passed for 368 yards and 4 TDs.
- Virginia State QB Cordelral Cook passed for 357 yards and 2 TDs.
- Virginia Union QB Darius Taylor passed for 331 yards and 6 TDs
- Norfolk State QB Juwan Carter passed for 318 yards and 3 TDs.
- Shaw QB Keon Marsh threw for 298 yards and 2 TD.
- Bowie State QB Amir Hall passed for 281 yards and the winning TD with 1:14 left in the game.
- Fayetteville State RB Stevie Green rushed for 202 yards and 2 TDs.
- Miles RB Justin Hardy rushed for 144 yards and 1 TD on 30 carries.
- Albany State RB McKinley Habersham rushed for 140 yards on 15 carries.
- Clark Atlanta RB Roger Thomas rushed for 115 yards and 1 TD on 18 carries.
- Bethune-Cookman held Savannah State to 90 total yards.
- Shaw WR Marcus Gorham had 5 catches for 151 yards and 1 TD.
- Florida A&M WR Chad Hunter had 7 catches for 135 yards and 3 TDs.
- Virginia State WR Joshua Harris had 9 catches for 132 yards.
- Norfolk State WR Marcus Taylor had 8 catches for 120 yards and 1 TD.
- Tennessee State WR Treon Harris had 8 catches for 109 yards and 1 TD.
- Saint Augustine’s WR Desmond Smith had 3 catches for 106 yards.
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