The highly anticipated showdown between the Grambling State Tigers (0-5, 0-2 SWAC) and the Prairie View Panthers (2-2, 2-1 SWAC) in the State Fair Classic is this weekend.
The G-Men dropped their last two games against the Panthers, so this is a chance for the Tigers to redeem themselves.
The Panthers average more total offense, total plays and average per game against their opponents. Their offense has also never missed a point-after attempt.
This year, their offense is led by lead rusher Courtney Brown. Brown has averaged 109 yards per game and 6.5 yard per carry with six touchdowns so far this season.
They also have an efficient quarterback, junior Jerry Lovelocke.
Last season, he passed for 1,020 yards and 10 touchdowns; he also ran for three touchdowns.
He finished last season ranked eighth in the Southwestern Athletic Conference in passing average 100.4 passing yards and pass efficiency of 116.7.
Lovelocke’s primary targets will be senior receiver Deandre Cooper and lead tailback Brown.
Cooper leads the team averaging 62 yards per game and 10 yards per reception with 30 receptions and 310 yards receiving.
Brown has 29 receptions for 320 receiving yards, averaging 16 yards per game and 8.4 yards per reception.
Look out for Prairie View’s defense, more specifically their secondary.
Senior linebacker Raheem Cardwell leads the team with 45 tackles and one sack. The All-SWAC preseason first team veteran is returning for his third consecutive year as a starter and is looking to be a reliable asset to the team.
Freshman Jamespaul Bryant will also be an asset, already having 26 tackles and two sacks. Simply put, this defense is stacked with talent.
Unfortunately, the G-Men’s season hasn’t started off with the edge they would hope to have.
However, there are some positive things about the team. The Tigers have scored 100 percent of the time when they were in the red zone this season, 78 percent when it comes to touchdowns and 22 percent on field goals and two-point conversions. This may not seem like much, but statistically speaking, Grambling’s offense fares well 20 yards from the goal line.
If Grambling can get to the 20 yard line consistently, the game is theirs.
GSU’s passing game is more efficient than its running, even though the Tigers average giving up three interceptions per game.
Another key to winning will be for the Grambling Tigers to manage their turnovers and to control the ball.
Junior quarterback D.J. Williams has two targets, sophomore Chester Rogers and junior Anthony McGhee who both can make critical plays for a first down.
Grambling’s chances of winning lie within their ability to control the ball.
They will have to effectively pass the ball, use long drives to maintain maximum possession of the ball, get into the red zone consistently, shut down Lockelove and contain Cooper and Brown.