Grambling State defeated Tennessee State in the second Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic, 16-10, on Sunday. A late defensive stop and a first down helped lift Grambling to the victory.
“The first time getting to go against another opponent was good,” said GSU Tigers offensive line coach Bryant Ross. “The emotion of the first game is always going to be high. Once the emotions settled I thought we played pretty good football up front.
“It’s always some things we can work on and getting better at the small details,” Ross said.
The Tigers trailed after the first quarter as TSU put up a field goal. GSU rallied back after a great throw and catch between quarterback Elijah Walker and Jaye Patrick.
For most of the game, it was a heavy defensive game. The halftime score reflected that as the Tigers led 7-3.
In the third quarter the scoring picked up with both teams scoring a touchdown in the quarter.
TSU scored early, but toward the end of the quarter, GSU’s defense and special teams gave the team a huge boost.
Lewis Mathews partially blocked a punt that helped to set up the G-Men in great field position. Three plays later, Walker rushed for a touchdown that gave the Tigers a 13-10 lead.
The Tigers never relinquished the lead after that. The Tigers went on to add a field goal in the fourth quarter to spread the lead to 6.
The game was closed and finished with defense leading to offense. Tennessee State had a huge opportunity on a third and 23 play with 2:22 left as Deveon Bryant’s pass was broken up in the end zone by Kenan Fontenot, keeping TSU at 10 points.
The Tigers offense closed out the game rushing for a big first down.
“I thought it was all 11 guys making plays,” Coach Ross said. “It really came together, receivers blocking their guys, tight ends blocking their guys, quarterback controlling the game, the offensive line blocking their guys.”
Ross also believes the team has room for improvement and can get better at “the discipline” and “consistency.”
For the game, Walker earned offensive MVP honors, and Kenan Fontenot earned defensive MVP honors.
Walker tallied 120 yards and two total touchdowns. Fontenot led the team in tackles with eight and also had a pass break up.
CJ Russell added 36 yards on the ground. Joshua Reed also made a big impact on defense with six tackles and a half sack.
The win stopped a six-game losing streak that stretched back to Nov. 16. 2019. The win also broke a six-game losing streak in neutral site games.
Grambling extended its series win streak over Tennessee State to six games. GSU now leads the series 23-18-1.
The Tigers now look forward to a short week. The team travels to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to take on Southern Miss. Kickoff from Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium is set for 6 p.m. Saturday and will be streamed live on ESPN+.