July 6, 2020

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Tigers fight hard in road loss to Braves

LORMAN, Miss. | Marc Orozco booted a career-high 52 yard field goal and tied Brian Morgan as the Grambling State University All-Time Points Scoring Leader, but it wasn’t enough as the Tigers gave up a late touchdown as Alcorn State captured a 33-26 victory in a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) game on Saturday at Jack-Spinks Stadium.

Grambling State (3-4 overall, 2-2 SWAC) took the opening kickoff and marched 78 yards as Geremy Hickbottom connected with Lyndemian Brooks for a 37-yard gain. Three plays later, Johntavious Robinson capped an 11-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to give Tigers a 7-0 advantage with 10:19 remaining in the opening quarter.

After forcing an Alcorn State punt, Grambling State went 44 yards in five plays as Hickbottom connected with Devohn Lindsey for 44 yards to set up shop at the Alcorn State 27. However, the Tigers were unable to move the ball and settled for a 44-yard field by Marc Orozco to extend the margin to 10-0 with eight minutes left in the first.

Grambling State’s defense forced another punt on Alcorn State’s next offensive possession and the Tigers put together a 9-play, 38-yard drive as Orozco booted a 39-yard field goal to push the lead to 13-0 with 3:19 remaining in the first.

On the ensuing kickoff, Javen Morrison returned the kick 60 yards to the Grambling State 30. Four plays later, De’Shawn Waller scored on a 12-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 13-7 with 2:17 left in the opening frame.

After a Grambling State punt, Alcorn State (6-2, 4-1) moved the football to the Tiger 9-yard line, but settled for a 26-yard field by Corey McCullough to trim the margin to 13-10 with 12:34 remaining in the first half.

Grambling State started its next drive at its own 4 after two penalties. Hickbottom carried the ball five yards, but coughed it up and gave the Braves first-and-goal at the GSU 9. Noah Johnson connected with Chris Blair for a 9-yard touchdown pass to give Alcorn State a 16-13 advantage, after the PAT was no good, with 12:06 left in the second.

On the next Tigers offensive possession, Hickbottom was picked off by Morrison, who went 34 yards to the endzone, to give the Braves a 23-13 lead with 11:16 remaining in the half.

Alcorn State got the ball to begin the second half and moved the ball to Grambling State 30 before Johnson was picked off by Kenan Fontenot, who returned the ball to the ASU 48.

The Tigers’ opening drive of the second half stalled at the Alcorn State 30 as Orozco connected on a career-long 52-yard field goal to trim the deficit to 23-16 with 6:51 remaining in the third.

After forcing a punt by the Braves, the Tigers set up shop at the Alcorn State 47. On third-and-16, Hickbottom got 27 yards on a pass to Devante Davis. Two players later, the redshirt sophomore quarterback was flushed out the pocket and ran 24 yards to the endzone, tying the game at 23 with 3:48 left in the third.

Grambling State’s defense forced another punt and the Tigers moved the ball inside the Alcorn State 10. However, Grambling State was unable to get into the endzone and Orozco tied Morgan’s record (325 career points) with a 40-yard field goal to give the Tigers a slim 26-23 lead with 12:03 remaining.

Alcorn State marched 60 yards in 14 plays as McCullough booted a 46-yard field goal to tie the game at 26 with 6:35 left.

Grambling State was unable to move the football and was forced to punt the ball with 1:42 left as the Tigers were flagged for catching interference, which set Alcorn State up at the Tigers 26.

On third on 20 from the GSU 36, Johnson connected with Dayall Harris for 33 yards and two players later, Blair caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to give the Braves a 33-26 lead with 12 seconds remaining.

Turning Point
It was a tale of two halves…

Grambling State led 13-0 with 3:18 remaining in the opening quarter. However, the next 18 minutes and 18 seconds belonged to Alcorn State as the Braves scored 23 unanswered points to take a 23-13 lead into the break.

The Tigers gave up a 12-yard touchdown run by De’Shawn Waller late in the opening quarter as the Braves trimmed the margin to 13-7.

Alcorn State scored 16 consecutive points, 13 off two Grambling State turnovers, during a 1 minute and 18 second span to turn a six-point deficit into a 10-point lead.

A fumble by Hickbottom turned into a Noah Johnson 9-yard touchdown pass to Chris Blair and on the next offensive series, Hickbottom was picked off by Javen Morrison for a 34-yard touchdown return.

In the second half, the Tigers battled back and tied the game at 23, before taking a 26-23 lead. But the Braves scored the final 10 points to grab the 33-26 victory.

Inside the Numbers

> Grambling State recorded 19 first downs

> GSU finished with 376 total yards, including 292 through the air

> Geremy Hickbottom was 20 of 36 passing for 279 yards and one interception

> Geremy Hickbottom led the ground game with 17 touches for 115 yards, but gained only 54 net yards

> Quintin Guice caught a team-high four passes for 84 yards

> Devohn Lindsey added three catches for 57 yards

> Danquarian Fields paced the defense with 10 total tackles, including five solo stops

> Devanir Martin, De’Andre Hogues and Percy Cargo Jr. each recorded seven tackles

> Alcorn State finished with 18 first downs

> The Braves tallied 308 total yards of offense, including 160 in the air

> Noah Johnson was 17 of 39 passing for 160 yards and two touchdowns

> De’Shawn Waller rushed 17 times for 74 yards and one score

> Chris Blair caught five passes for 37 yards and two touchdowns

> Daryall Harris finished with 50 yards on three receptions

> Terry Whittington paced the defense with 15 tackles and 4.5 sacks

> Qwynnterrio Cole added 11 tackles, while Solomon Muhammad tallied 10 tackles

News & Notes

> Grambling State fell to 45-22-3 all-time in the series

> Broderick Fobbs is 6-2 all-time against Alcorn State

> Marc Orozco finished with a career-high four field goals and two extra points and is tied with Brian Morgan, who is the GSU and SWAC all-time leader in points scored

> Grambling State fell to 11-2 during the Broderick Fobbs era when wearing white jerseys and black pants

> Broderick Fobbs suffered his first loss in the month of October (15-1)

> GSU fell to 7-1 in the state of Mississippi during the Broderick Fobbs era

> Broderick Fobbs is eight wins shy of 50 for his coaching career

> Last time Grambling State lost at Alcorn State was 1997 (44-20) during Eddie Robinson’s final season


Up Next

Grambling State returns home for Military Appreciation and Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Saturday, Oct. 27 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Kickoff against the Golden Lions is set for 2 p.m. at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.

Follow Grambling State Athletics

For complete coverage of Grambling State athletics, please follow the Tigers on social media at @GSU_Tigers (Twitter), /gramblingstateathletics (Facebook), @gramblingathletics01 (Instagram) or visit the official home of Grambling State Athletics at gsutigers.com.



By: Brian Howard
Sports Information Director
Grambling State University

About Andy Bryson 704 Articles
Founder of Louisiana Gridiron Football and football coach