The Eastern Division Champions, the Alcorn State University Braves (5-4, 5-6), went into NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas to face the Western Division Champions, the Grambling State University Tigers (9-0, 10-1), with a solid game plan to win their third consecutive Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) title but fate had a different scenario in mind.
The Braves, being the underdog in the contest, showed that never die attitude in the first quarter by being the only team which scored when at the 6:12 mark quarterback Lenorris Footman scored on a 15 yard run into the end zone and with kicker Haiden McCraney’s extra point the score was 7-0, Braves.
Alcorn continued their scrappiness in the second quarter when McCraney nailed a 27 yard field goal to make the score 10-0, Braves. Alcorn continued its scoring dominance one minute and 12 seconds later at the 10:44 mark when running back De’Lance Turner scored on a 69 scamper to pay dirt and with a successful McCraney PAT (point after attempt) the score at the half was 17-0, Braves.
This was definitely a tale of two halves because Grambling came out of the locker room with an entirely different approach to the game. The Tigers finally got on the score board at the 12:47 mark when quarterback Devante Kincade threw a 29 yard bomb to wide receiver Verlan Hunter and with a Jonathan Wallace extra point the score was now 17-7, Braves. Grambling showed how they dominated the SWAC this year by scoring again at the 8:06 mark when wide receiver Lyndemian Brook scored on a 1 yard run into the end zone and with a successful PAT by Wallace the score was now 17-14, Braves.
The fourth quarter saw the Braves score early at the 9:46 mark when McCraney kicked a 41 yard field goal to make the score 20-14, Braves. The Tigers, not to be outdone, scored 2 minutes and 21 seconds later at the 7:25 mark when Kincade hit wide receiver Dominique Leake for a 2 yard pass but kicker Abubakkar Conte’s extra point attempt was blocked making the score 20-20. Grambling, sensing the SWAC title would be there’s, closed the door on any chances Alcorn had of coming back to win the game at the 3:38 mark when running back Martez Cater scored on a 31 yard run to pay dirt and with a successful Conte PAT the final score was 27-20, Grambling. This is the Tigers first SWAC Championship since 2011. Grambling, who will represent the SWAC, now heads to Atlanta, Georgia to the Georgia Dome to face the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference (MEAC) Champions, the North Carolina Central University Eagles in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl on December 17, 2016 at Noon on ABC.