In a back-and-forth game that first looked to be a potential nailbiter until the very end, Grambling State collapsed again after halftime on defense as the Tigers fell 45-24 to Alabama A&M in their Homecoming game Saturday at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium.
The Bulldogs scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to put the game away as quarterback Xavier Lankford did most of his damage with his legs, torching Grambling’s defense by rushing for 193 yards on only 16 carries, scoring on runs of 45 and six yards.
To add to that already powerful Alabama A&M ground game, running back Donovan Eaglin ran for 97 rushing yards on 17 carries with a pair of 2-yad scoring runs.
The Tigers’ offense stalled in the second half after a great first half start. They had a good eight-play drive for 70 yards and a touchdown early in the second half. The time of possession that the Bulldogs had on offense during certain drives simply proved how tired Grambling’s defense was, as there was a 10-play, 80-yard drive that drained five minutes off the clock where Lankford absolutely torched the Grambling defense in the air and on the ground.
Grambling’s rushing defense simply couldn’t handle the Bulldogs’ rushing power as Alabama A&M steamed for over 336 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 7 yards per carry. The Bulldogs didn’t even need their usual two-QB system by also using Quincy Casey. Their game plan was simply to run the ball and prove who was better in the trenches.
You can argue play calling by the Grambling offense was shaky after being down 31-24; or maybe it was simply poor execution; but overall, Grambling’s offense simply was figured out and collapsed.
The Tigers now fall to fourth place in the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s West Division standings at 3-4, holding them back from the divisional championship race right now, but anything is still possible as far the division race goes.
After a bye weekend coming up, the Tigers look back to the winning category on Oct. 28 against 1-5 Bethune-Cookman (0-3 SWAC) in a game Grambling needs to take care of after two straight losses.