Grambling beats Southern 30-21 to win SWAC West
NEW ORLEANS- Martez Carter caught a touchdown pass and ran for another score as Grambling defeated Southern, 30-21, at the Bayou Classic on Saturday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Tigers (10-1, 7-0 Southwestern Athletic Conference) claimed the SWAC West division title and advanced to the SWAC championship game.
Grambling won its third straight division title and finished undefeated in SWAC play for the third consecutive season. The Jaguars finished 7-4, 5-2.
Carter's 9-yard reception from Devante Kincaid helped the Tigers build a 17-7 lead. Carter had an 11-yard touchdown run for the winning score with 3:22 left. Carter finished with 92 yards rushing on 21 carries. Kincade threw for 171 yards and had a touchdown run.
After Carter put Grambling up 27-21, Southern quarterback Austin Howard fumbled on the ensuing possession and Brandon Varner recovered the ball for Grambling at the Jaguars 16. That led to Marc Orozco's third field goal, from 36 yards, with 1:39 left.
Howard completed 24 of 41 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. His 8-yard touchdown pass to Dillon Beard gave Southern a 21-20 lead with 5:02 remaining.
The Tigers led 17-7 at halftime, but Howard threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Catalon to get the Jaguars within three after three quarters. Orozco's 37-yard field goal gave Grambling a 20-14 lead with 13:57 left.
On the first play from scrimmage, Grambling's Ja'Terious Pouncy intercepted Howard at the Southern 36. Seven plays later, Kincade ran nine yards for a touchdown. The Jaguars first scoring threat came up empty when Cesar Barajas was wide left on a 25-yard field-goal attempt early in the first quarter.
The Tigers increased the lead to 14-0 on the ensuing possession when Kincade threw his touchdown pass to Carter. Southern cut the lead in half when Devon Benn ran for a 1-yard touchdown with 3:40 left in the second quarter.
Orozco's 42-yard field goal as time expired increased Grambling's lead to 17-7 at halftime.
Grambling: The Tigers reinforced their standing as the pre-eminent program in the SWAC West. They have an opportunity to win their second consecutive SWAC title in the final SWAC championship game. Beginning next season, the title will go to the regular-season winner.
Southern: The Jaguars once again are bridesmaid to the Tigers, entering the Bayou Classic with a chance to win the West and leaving as the runner-up for the second consecutive season.
Grambling: The Tigers play East division champion Alcorn State in the SWAC championship game next Saturday in Houston.
Southern: The Jaguars season is over.