After being down 13 points at half, the Grambling Tigers came back and were in prime position to win at the goal line before a fumble sealed the game 33-28.
The season opener was the SWAC premiere for new Jackson State Head Coach Deion Sanders and his first matchup with National Champion Head Coach Broderick Fobbs.
The historic game was televised on ESPN 3, showcasing two HBCU’s.
This loss broke a 16-game home winning streak for the Tigers.
"I take my hat off to Jackson State,” Coach Fobbs said. “They made fewer mistakes than we did; you can't come out and play a first half like we played and then fight your way back into the game only to give it away again at the end.”
The wild game switched momentum many times, with Jackson State getting it early.
The G-Men started with three early penalties and JSU’s Jalon Jones hit Corey Reed for a touchdown pass to take the early lead.
The Tigers responded with a drive sparked by a 25-yard catch by tight end Dorrell James. The drive was capped off by Geremy Hickbottom’s rushing touchdown.
Later in the quarter Grambling got another drive going in which running back Keilon Elder capped it off with a rushing touchdown, giving the G-Men the 14-7 lead by the end of the first.
The second quarter belonged to Jackson State as they scored on three straight possessions. The Tigers could not get going 3-and-out twice in the quarter.
Jackson State led going into half 27-14.
In the second half the Grambling offense got going with Hickbottom hitting on a 15-yard touchdown to Darrell Clark. Early in the fourth, they engineered another drive in which Elder scored on the ground again from two yards out.
Jackson State responded quickly with a touchdown pass from Jalon Jones to Warren Newman.
Grambling’s defense held Jackson State to only six points in the second half, but this score gave Jackson State the lead they never relinquished.
Hickbottom accounted for 318 yards total and scored two touchdowns. Elder totaled two touchdowns and CJ Russell rushed for 51 yards.
Linebacker Lewis Matthews led the Tigers in tackles with 12 and Preseason All-SWAC selection Kenan Fontenot was second with 10 tackles and a forced fumble.
The G-Men will travel to Arlington, Texas Saturday, March 7 to take on Prairie View A&M in the State Fair Classic.
The game will start at 3 p.m. at Globe Life Park.