Grambling routs Southern in Bayou Classic, claims SWAC West
NEW ORLEANS (AP) Southern entered the Bayou Classic with the top two all-purpose yardage producers in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, but Grambling's Martez Carter produced the most Saturday.
The junior running back had 279 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns as the Tigers defeated the Jaguars 52-30 to claim the Southwestern Athletic Conference West Division title.
The Tigers (9-1, 9-0) advanced to the SWAC title game for the second consecutive year. They'll face East Division champion Alcorn State next Saturday in Houston.
Carter rushed 10 times for 118 yards and two touchdowns, returned two kickoffs for 104 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown, caught one pass for 28 yards, returned one kickoff for 16 yards and returned three punts for 29 yards.
''It's going to make future teams respect us,'' Carter said of the SWAC's leading passing team's rushing success. ''They say we're a passing team, but we also can run the ball well. We had a lot of success today and that's going to open those guy's eyes up to respect the run game that we establish.''
The Tigers had 256 yards rushing and DeVante Kincade completed 24-of-33 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown and ran nine times for 56 yards and a touchdown.
''We did a really good job of running the football,'' Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs said. ''We saw some things from the way they were lining up in the first half and we were able to take advantage of it.''
After being held scoreless in the second quarter, the Tigers scored on the first possession of the third quarter as Kincade ran 45 yards for touchdown that increased the Tigers lead to 24-13.
Three plays after Grambling stopped Southern on a fourth-and-1 at the Tigers 13, Carter ran 66 yards for a touchdown and Lyndemian Brooks ran 34 yards for a touchdown and a 38-13 lead with 4:02 left in the third quarter.
One play after a Grambling fumble, Austin Howard threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Lenard Tillery to get the Jaguars within 38-20 after three quarters. Tillery, the SWAC leader in all-purpose yards, also ran 26 times for 234 yards and a touchdown, but wide receiver/return specialist Willie Quinn, who's second in all-purpose yards, had just 64 yards.
Kincade threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chad Williams before Southern's Ruan Albuquerque made a 32-yard field goal with 6:56 left. Carter returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown.
Howard threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Tillery with 3 seconds left.
''We just weren't able to put up enough points to keep up with them,'' Southern coach Dawson Odums said. ''We gave up too many big plays and that was the difference in the game.''
Southern took the opening kickoff and drove to an 18-yard touchdown pass from Howard to Quinn and a 6-0 lead after the extra point was missed.
On the ensuing possession, Carter ran 11 yards for a touchdown that gave Grambling a 7-6 lead.
Williams' 32-yard halfback pass to Verlan Hunter gave Grambling a 14-6 lead after one quarter.
''We practiced that play all week,'' Williams said, ''and I told Verlan to get ready because if someone's on him, I'm throwing it to him anyway.''
Tillery's 85-yard touchdown run pulled Southern within 17-13 at halftime.
The game featured the two highest-scoring offenses in the SWAC, but two defensive stands by Grambling made a big difference. Southern trailed 7-6 and was poised to take the lead midway through the first quarter when Howard fumbled at the Grambling 1 and the ball went through the end zone for a touchback. In the third quarter Grambling led 24-13 when it stopped Tillery 1 yard short of a first down on fourth down at the Tigers 13. ''One or two plays in a football game can make the difference,'' Jaguars coach Dawson Odums said. ''(Howard's fumble) swung the momentum and we never got it turned around.''
Grambling: The Tigers are back as a perennial SWAC contender after playing for the West Division title for the third consecutive year and winning it for the second consecutive year. The Tigers finished 9-0 in the SWAC regular season for the second consecutive year.
Southern: The Jaguars high-scoring offense wasn't up to par as the Grambling defense contained quarterback Austin Howard and big-play wide receiver/return specialist Willie Quinn. Running back Lenard Tillery, the SWAC's all-time leading rusher, had a big game in the final game of his collegiate career with 230 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown, as well as a 14-yard touchdown reception.
Grambling: The Tigers will play East Division champion Alcorn State in the SWAC Championship Game next Saturday in Houston. Grambling will try to avenge a 49-21 loss to Alcorn in last year's title game.
Southern: The Jaguars season ended with the loss. They finished with a winning record for the fourth consecutive season.
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org