Grambling State Sports Information Staff
DALLAS — The Grambling State Tigers saw their 26-game Southwestern Athletic Conference winning streak end on Saturday afternoon. The Tigers nearly rallied from a 19-point deficit but a costly interception in the final minute gave Prairie View A&M a 22-16 victory in the 95th State Fair Classic at the Cotton Bowl.
The Tigers (1-3 overall, 1-1 SWAC) could not covert two early Panthers turnovers and Prairie View A&M capitalized with two scores to close out the opening quarter.
Jalen Morton connected with Markcus Hardy for a 38-yard touchdown with 4:20 remaining in the first quarter, and Dawonya Tucker caught an 80-yard touchdown from Morton to give the Panthers a 12-0 lead with 1:33 remaining in the first.
The Panthers added to the advantage with a Zach Elder 43-yard field goal to give Prairie View A&M a commanding 15-0 lead with 6:31 left.
The Tigers got some momentum right before the half as the defense tackled Morton in the end zone for a safety as Prairie View A&M took a 15-2 advantage into the break.
The Panthers (3-3, 2-0) pushed the margin to 22-2 after Zarrian Holcombe caught a four-yard pass from Morton with 4:03 left in the third.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Tigers turned their attention to quarterback Geremy Hickbottom, who came in off the bench in relief of starter Aldon Clark.
Hickbottom guided the offense for an eight-play, 63-yard drive as he scored on a three-yard run with 11:41 remaining.
The Tigers closed the gap to 22-16 with 3:34 left when Quintin Guice caught an 18-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Grambling State converted the onside’s kick to set up shop at their own 46.
The Tigers marched down the field and on third-and-10 from the Prairie View A&M 30, Hickbottom’s pass was intercepted by Ju’Anthony Park to end the rally and give the Panthers their first win in the series since 2013.