College football: Big defensive plays help Grambling State ease past Miss. Valley State


Josh Bell
Grambling State Sports Information Staff

GRAMBLING — The Grambling State Tigers’ defense came up with two big plays in the fourth quarter in a 24-19 SWAC victory over Mississippi Valley State on homecoming and Senior Day on Saturday afternoon at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.

With Saturday’s win, and Prairie View A&M’s loss to Jackson State, the SWAC West Division title will come down to a showdown on Nov. 24 against Southern in the 45th Annual Bayou Classic at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

Grambling State (5-4, 4-2) led 24-19 in the fourth quarter and got a key fourth-down stop at its 2 when Danquarian Fields broke up a pass to turn the ball over on downs. After a GSU punt, De’Andre Hogues forced a fumble and recovered it at the MVSU 49. The Tigers nearly ran the remaining four minutes off the clock before defeating the Delta Devils.

“What we have to understand is that we are going to get everyone’s best game,” Grambling State head coach Broderick Fobbs said. “Regardless of the record and regardless of who we are facing, you better be ready to play. We’re thinking and looking at film, but not playing with passion and the way we’re supposed to be playing. The thing that has really troubled me is how we’re going about playing the game. We’ve got to do a better job. Good thing is that we were able to come out with a win.”

Mississippi Valley State (1-7, 1-4) took the opening kickoff and marched 62 yards in eight plays as Dejerric Bryant scored on a 7-yard run as the extra point was blocked, giving the Delta Devils a 6-0 advantage with 10:50 left in the opening quarter.

Grambling State answered with a 15-play, 62-yard drive as the Tigers settled for a 34-yard Marc Orozco field goal to close the gap to 6-3 with 4:45 remaining in the first.

The Tigers took the lead for good early in the second quarter as Geremy Hickbottom connected with Darrell Clark for a 35-yard touchdown pass to give Grambling State a 10-6 lead with 12:54 remaining in the first half.

On the very next drive, the Tigers extend the lead to 17-6, as Devante Davis caught a 15-yard pass from Hickbottom, with 7:45 left in the second. However, Mississippi Valley State cut the deficit to 17-13 after a John Derrick Smith 5-yard touchdown run with just over a minute before half.

Grambling State took the opening drive of the second half and went 74 yards in seven plays as Kobe’ Ross caught a 47-yard touchdown strike from Hickbottom to push the lead to 24-13, but a Booker Chambers 22-yard touchdown reception from Fowler closed the margin to 24-19, with 6:23 left in the third quarter.

Turning Point
Grambling State led, 24-19, with 12:35 remaining, Mississippi Valley State put together a 12-play drive and moved the ball to the GSU 2.

The Delta Devils were forced to use all three timeouts during the drive and on 4th down at the Tiger 2, Christian Sutton got the ball on a reverse and his pass, intended for Chris Fowler, was broken up in the end zone by Danquarian Fields to keep the Tigers in front by five points.

After a GSU punt on its next drive, Mississippi Valley State got the ball with 4:32 remaining and appeared poised for one final drive. However, Isaiah Robinson coughed the ball up at the Delta Devils 47 and De’Andre Hogues came up with the loose ball to preserve the homecoming victory.