Saturday, December 5, 2015

Grambling, Alcorn State Battle for SWAC Title and Berth in the Celebration Bowl

(photo by The Vicksburg Post)
Saturday's SWAC Championship football game is a game that both Grambling and Alcorn State have been looking forward to, but for very different reasons.

Both teams are looking to claim the SWAC title, which for Alcorn State, would be their second in a row.  The winner will also play in the inaugural Celebration Bowl, which pits the SWAC champion versus the MEAC champion on Dec. 19.

But the Braves have had problems with a Grambling football team that has been on a steady climb since the dreadful days of 2013 when the team lost most football games and even boycotted a game because of the horrible conditions of their football facilities.

They've been the most consistent team in the SWAC for the past two years, the only main bump in losing a close battle last year to Southern that would have put them in last year's title game.

This season, the Tigers are 9-2, have won nine games in a row, and most importantly, they've defeated Alcorn State two years in a row.

They have SWAC Offensive Player of the Year in quarterback Johnathan Williams who has thrown for nearly 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns this season for the SWAC's second best offense.  The 34 points they scored last week was the fewest they've scored this season, besides the 14 points they had against Pac-10 team California in their opening game loss.

But they are the second best offense in the SWAC.  The top offensive team is Alcorn State.

The Braves averaged nearly 45 points and 487 yards of offense a game this season and are led by Ragsdale Darry, a rusher who only 44 yards from the 1,000 yard mark this season and has run for seven touchdowns.  But they have questions at quarterback as Footman Lenorr has had to step in for injured star quarterback John Gibbs Jr., a dual passing and rushing threat.  Footman has been solid, but head coach Jay Hopson has been coy about who will start today.

"All that stuff will kind of be game time," Alcorn head coach Jay Hopson told the Monroe News Star.  "We will see how that all plays out."

Alcorn State also has the SWAC's stingiest defense, giving up only 270 yards and 21 points a game this year.

Overall defense isn't Grambling's strong suit, but they do have the SWAC's best defense against the rush.

That all came into play earlier this season when Grambling needed a blocked extra point on the last play of the game to hold off Alcorn State.

Besides winning the SWAC title for the second year in the row, Alcorn State wants to finally defeat their nemesis while Grambling is looking for that elusive SWAC championship.

"It has been a stellar year for your program," said Grambling's Brandon Fobbs, the SWAC Coach of the Year, to The Advocate.  "I felt very confident in our blueprint for success.  I'm very pleased with with what we've been able to accomplish, but we still have a few more steps to go.  We will definitely have our hands full with Alcorn."

No comments:

Post a Comment