G-Men fall to Rattlers in 20-16 heartbreaker

GSU true freshman quarterback Julian Calvez (4) led the Tigers with 113 rushing yards during Saturday’s home loss to Florida A&M. (Photo by Glenn Lewis).

The Grambling State University Tigers football team faced an uphill challenge to return to .500 as they faced the Florida A&M University Rattlers on Saturday at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.

Grambling came into the game with a 1-5 overall record to Florida A&M’s 4-2 record. 

In previous games, the Rattlers committed fewer penalties than the Tigers committed, but in the contest the Tigers committed fewer penalties than the Rattlers committed in their match-up.

But that didn’t translate to the scoreboard as the Rattlers defeated the Tigers by 20-16. 

The Tigers had the ball with 1:45 left to play in regulation but could not score the winning touchdown despite driving deep into Rattlers’ territory late in the contest.

Florida A&M received the game’s opening kick and was stopped, with the Tigers’ first possession coming at the 13:25 mark of the first quarter.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Rattlers struck first with a 29-yard field goal with 12:33 remaining in the second quarter.

The Tigers answered with a 39-yard field goal to tie the score at 3-3 midway through the second quarter. 

Shortly before halftime, Grambling quarterback  Julian Calvez connected with receiver Lyndon Rash for a seven-yard touchdown pass to put GSU on top 10-3 after a successful extra point conversion.

The Rattlers kicked off the ball to the Tigers to start the third quarter. At the 7:04 mark in the third, the Rattlers answered the Tigers’ touchdown with a three-yard touchdown pass and successful extra point to make the score 10-10.

Florida A&M scored another touchdown with 23.5 seconds left in the third quarter, the Rattlers scored another touchdown from two yards out to regain the lead at 17-10. 

But Grambling wasn’t done yet as the Tigers’ Donald Johnson III, returned a punt for a touchdown with 5:05 remaining.

However, GSU’s extra point was unsuccessful, leaving the Tigers trailing the Rattlers 17-16. 

The Rattlers scored the game’s final  points on a field goal from the 22-yard line with 1:45 left in the game to increase their lead to four point and then held off Grambling’s attempt at a late win, forcing a Calvez incompletion on fourth-and-goal from the FAMU 39 as time expired to escape with the win.

In a game in which the Tigers did not commit a fumble or throw an interception, it was penalties that proved most costly with Grambling being penalized 11 times for 91 yards.