“One step closer to the SWAC Championship,” said senior WR Kiare Thompson immediately after The Grambling State Tigers defeated the Prairie View Panthers in the Southwest Airlines State Fair Classic in Dallas Saturday. The final score was 34-17.
Thompson might not have realized the reality his sentiment foreshadowed.
The winner of this game has become the SWAC champion for the past two years This fact coupled with a loss to PV last year, meant the G-men played with revenge on their minds.
The Tigers were led by Anthony Carrothers went 10-16 for 152 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Frank Warren led the rushing attack for the Tigers with 151 yards on 24 carries.
The crowd of 43,754 witnessed the Tigers dominate on all sides of the ball despite a slow start in the first half. While the Tigers were driving in the first quarter, Carrothers decided to take it in himself to give the Tigers their first points in the game and never looked back. The Panthers were feisty in their attempts to try to keep the game close. Prairie View RB Donald Babers scored on a 6-yard run with 2:46 left in the first quarter to put the Panthers ahead 10-7 at that junction in the game.
The Tigers then executed a perfectly balanced drive that took 7 minutes off the clock and culminated with a Warren 2-yard touchdown. The Tigers looked shaky in the first half, but got their act together with every drive subsequently after.
The Tigers took a 14-10 lead into the locker room, however, after halftime, the Tigers seemed to take Prairie View’s will.
The Panthers were visibly frustrated and baffled. The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage while the running back duo of Warren and senior RB Cornelius Walker systemically led to the quick demise of PV.
The fourth and final quarter was twelve minutes of the G-Men leaving no doubt. Thompson scored on a perfectly thrown, 59-yard pass from Carrothers with 4:21 left in the quarter. After a Panther three-and-out, Walker scored their final points of the game for the G-Men on a 66-yard run off the left side.
While it was a “big victory” for Grambling, running back coach, Shawn Gibbs didn’t want to lose focus on the big picture. “We still have areas we need improvement, but our running game played a major role in the win.”
“We know who we are and what we are out to accomplish,” Thompson stated. “They were just another team on the schedule we had to get past.” Thompson led the Tigers in receiving with 72 carries on 2 touches. The tigers travel to Normal, AL next week to take on the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M.