HOUSTON, Texas – A big second-half lifted Grambling State to a 27-20 victory over defending champion Alcorn State in the 2016 Toyota SWAC Football Championship Game.
This marks the seventh championship game win for the Tigers, and the first for GSU coach Broderick Fobbs.
Offensive MVP Martez Carter -- who shattered the SWAC Championship Game record for most all-purpose yards with 348 -- scored the eventual game-winner – a 31-yard scamper to paydirt with 3:38 left – to cap a second half that saw Grambling (10-1, 9-0 SWAC) outscore the Braves 27-3 after falling behind 17-0 at half.
Alcorn State struck first when a Carter fumble just outside was pounced on by Darien Anderson. Four plays later, Lenorris Footman took it in from 15 yards out.
The Braves would push their lead to 10-0 thanks to a seven-minute plus drive that spanned the first and second quarters and ended with a chip shot field goal by Haiden McCraney. Grambling’s normally explosive offense continued to struggle, and Alcorn employed a ball-control offense to continue to press the advantage. De’Lance Turner raced 69-yards to paydirt for a 17-0 Braves lead with just under 11 minutes left.
After being shut down for the first half, Grambling’s offense woke up in the second half thanks to a big 73-yard kick return by Carter to open the third quarter. Devante Kincade hooked up with Verlan Hunter from 29 yards out for a score. After an Alcorn drive came up empty, Grambling hit paydirt again thanks to a one-yard plunge by LynDemian Brooks to make it 17-14.
Alcorn State (5-6, 5-4 SWAC) stretched the lead to 20-14 early on in the fourth quarter, but Grambling tied it on a wild play where Carter took a pass from Kincade but fumbled right before crossing the plane, only for the ball to be grabbed by Dominique Leake and taken in the end zone. The ensuing PAT was blocked, but Carter’s late score was the difference.
Carter rushed for 136 yards on 14 tries, adding in 66 receiving yards and 142 return yards. Kincade was 15-22 for 237 yards and two scores. Chad Williams hauled in six grabs for 103 yards.
Turner rushed for 126 yards, and Lenorris Footman was 14-24 for 259 yards and an interception.
Defensively, Grambling State was led by De'Arius Christmas, who picked up 12 tackles and a sack in winning the defensive MVP award. Darien Anderson was the high man for the Braves with 11 stops and a sack. Alcorn State tied the championship-game record for most sacks with eight.