The Grambling State Tigers came up short Saturday evening as a late fourth quarter rally fell short in a 22- 16 defeat to conference rival Prairie View A&M in the 93rd annual State Fair Classic. The Panthers (3-3) came out on top over the Tigers (1-3) for the first time since 2013, the defeat ended Grambling State 26-game SWAC winning streak.
The G-MEN offensive line struggled across the board, giving up numerous quarterback hurries and a total of 10 sacks on the night. Quarterback Aldon Clarke seemed out of rhythm on the night going 16-30 for 144 yards and zero points in three quarters of action on the night.
The Tigers defense forced the Panthers into 4 turnovers on the night, forcing the Panthers into turnovers on their first two possessions, after a Percy Cargo fumble recovery and an interception.
The Panthers up-tempo offense finally got momentum on their third possession of the game, after a Jalen Morton 38 yard passing touchdown to Markus Hardy to make the score 6-0 after the Tigers blocked the extra point.
After a quick offensive drive that ended with a Grambling State punt, the Panthers set up a screen pass from quarterback Jalen Morton to Dawonya Tucker who took it 80 yards for the touchdown to bring the score to 12-0 to end the first quarter.
Grambling State offense were unable to reach the end zone until the fourth quarter, after the Tigers inserted quarterback Geremy Hickbottom. Hickbottom rallied the Tigers into two scoring drives in the final quarter to bring the G-MEN within six points with 3:34 left in the game.
After a successful onside kick recovery by the Tigers, Hickbottom and the offense drove down the field to take the lead before a drive ending interception with 1:30 remaining in the game and secure the Panthers victory.
Kicker Marc Orozco came into the game just 44 points shy of becoming the all-time leader in points by a kicker, missed three kicks on the night.
The Tiger’s jump out of SWAC play to host Oklahoma Panhandle State on Business and Industry Day Saturday, Oct. 6, kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.
The Fighting Tigers
Oct. 6 vs. Oklahoma Panhandle State
Oct. 13 at Texas Southern
Oct. 20 at Alcorn State
Oct. 27 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Nov.3 vs. Mississippi Valley State (Homecoming)
Nov. 10 at Alabama A&M
Nov. 24 vs. Southern (Bayou Classic)