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Grambling saves best for last

Two TDs in final 2:11 lift G-Men to a 23-10 win over Alabama A&M
Monday, October 14, 2019
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Photo by GLENN LEWIS/GSU News Bureau

Keilon Elder (23) turned in this one-yard touchdown run with 1:27 left in the first half Saturday to help the Tigers take a 7-0 lead into the locker room at halftime of their home win over Alabama A&M.

GRAMBLING — It might not have been a pretty win Saturday for Grambling State University.

But the final 2:15 was a thing of beauty for Tigers head coach Broderick Fobbs.

Sophomore running back Jakarie Nichols gave Grambling the lead on an 18-yard scoring scamper with 2:11 remaining in the contest before senior linebacker De’Andre Hogues forced a fumble and 6-2, 250-pound defensive lineman Koby Foster secured the win with a scoop-and-score fumble recovery returned for a 46-yard touchdown with 52 seconds left as the Tigers beat Alabama A&M 23-10 at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.

Four turnovers (three fumbles and an interception) and a sluggish offense didn’t make for a good afternoon for the Tigers. When Fobbs was asked what he felt about his offense during GSU Radio’s post-game interview, he was quick to respond.

“Is that a trick question?” Fobbs asked with a laugh. “I thought the defense played well for the most part. 

“There may have been two or three plays that we just didn’t play well on, but for the most part our defense played extremely well. But just the one or two plays we didn’t play well on turned out to be for scores. When you look at it, 98% of it we played well defensively. But those two plays hurt us. We’ve got to clean those up defensively.”

It wasn’t that the GSU offense didn’t have chances. The Tigers (2-4 overall and 0-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference) drove to the Alabama A&M in the first quarterback before GSU quarterback Geremy Hickbottom was intercepted by the Bulldogs’ Quantravis Kelly. 

The game remained scoreless until late in the first half before Keilon Elder danced into the end zone from one-yard out to put the Tigers on top 7-0 at intermission.

Grambling stretched its lead to 10-0 early in the third quarter on a 40-yard field goal by Miguel Mendez, but the Bulldogs quickly countered with a 69-yard scoring strike from quarterback Aqeel Glass to Abdul-Fatai Ibrahim at the 10:00 mark of the third quarter.

Alabama A&M tied things up 10-10 with six seconds left in the third quarter on a 37-yard field goal by Corey Spencer.

And the score remaining tied up until Grambling’s final surge in the final 2:11.

Elder led Grambling State in rushing with 74 yards while Nichols added 46 yards and Kevin Dominique ran for 42 yards on 17 rushing attempts.

Grambling played three quarterbacks on the day, with Hickbottom totaling 37 yards on the ground while Charles Wright ran for 34 yards. 

Charles Wright of Grambling State completed 13-of-19 passing attempts for 53 yards to lead the GSU quarterbacks.

Lyndon Rash topped GSU receivers with three catches for 44 yards while Grambling’s Kalif Jackson hauled in two catches for 25 yards.

“I commend us for continuing to fight,” Fobbs said. “Our defense carried us, and we’re fortunate enough to come away with this victory.”

Grambling has a bye week coming up before traveling to Arkansas-Pine Bluff to take on the Lions at 1 p.m. Oct. 26.