ITTA BENA, Miss. | De’Aumante Johnson recorded three first-half interceptions as the Grambling State University defense came up big on Saturday night with a 38-6 victory over Mississippi Valley State in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) opener for both teams at Rice-Totten Stadium.
“We didn’t play well,” Grambling State head coach Broderick Fobbs. “We had a lot of guys out and sometimes when you have a lot of guys out, it’s hard to find that chemistry. I thought we did a good job to keep fighting regardless of the situation. The defense was stellar tonight. They did not only an awesome job of stopping them, but scoring points as well.”
After both teams went three-and-out on its first offensive possession, Grambling State’s defense came up with the first score of the night with 10:35 remaining in the opening quarter.
On a third-and-eight play, De’Aumante Johnson picked off MVSU quarterback Jett Even and went 35 yards down the right sideline to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead.
After another three-and-out for the Delta Devils, Grambling State was driving, but a fumble on the exchange at the MVSU 2-yard line gave the Mississippi Valley State the ball back.
But the Delta Devils didn’t have it for long as Even’s pass was intercepted by Johnson, his second pick of the day, to set up good field position.
The Tigers picked up their second score of the night with 2:55 remaining in the first quarter when Marc Orozco booted a 36-yard field goal to extend the Grambling State lead to 10-0.
Grambling State picked up two points on a safety, its second in as many weeks, to extend the lead to 12-0 with 13:44 left in the second quarter.
The Tigers closed out the first half with 10 points in the final 10 minutes.
Orozco kicked a 37-yard field goal with 9:58 left to push the advantage to 15-0 and Geremy Hickbottom connected with Devante Davis for a 23-yard touchdown pass with 1:43 remaining to extend the margin to 22-0.
Grambling State put the game out of reach with 11:42 left in the third quarter as Nicholas Black ran untouched for a 21-yard touchdown to give the Tigers a commanding 29-0 lead.
A James Crosby 4-yard touchdown run cut the margin to 29-6, but the Tigers blocked the extra point and Johnson returned the ball for the two-point conversion.
Grambling State put the final touches on the night on a Lyndemian Brooks touchdown run to give the Tigers a 38-6 victory.
The defense came to play in the SWAC opener.
The tone was set from the start as Johnson’s pick six gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the contest.
With the offense struggling, the defense picked apart Mississippi Valley State early on as the Delta Devils failed to get a first down in the opening quarter. In fact, MVSU had just eight yards on 13 plays in the opening frame.
Inside the Numbers
· Geremy Hickbottom was 4-of-13 passing for 38 yards.
· Dre’ Fusilier rushed four times for 83 yards, including a 53-yard run
· Darrell Clark caught four passes for 30 yards.
· The Tigers finished with 247 total yards of offense, including 195 on the ground.
· Mississippi Valley State registered 254 yards, and was held to minus 82 yards rushing.
· Christopher Fowler threw for 319 yards on 29-of-40 passing.
· Darrion Harper caught nine passes for 122 yards, while Quinn McElfresh added 113 yards on nine catches.
· Ja’Terious Pouncy led the Tigers with 10 tackles, including eight solo stops.
· De’Arius Christmas registered six tackles, including two for a loss of 19 yards.
· De’Aumante Johnson finished the night with four solo tackles, three interceptions and a two-point conversion.
News & Notes
· Grambling State improved to 53-5-2 all-time against Mississippi Valley State
· The Delta Devils picked up their first first down with 8:55 remaining in the first half.
· After starting the season with a loss at Tulane, Grambling State has now won three straight.
· Grambling State came into the game ranked No. 22 in the FCS Coaches Poll and the STATS FCS Top 25 Poll, No. 3 in the BOXTOROW Coaches and Media Poll and No. 1 in the SBN Black College Football Poll.
· Saturday night’s victory against Mississippi Valley State was the fifth straight in the series as head coach Broderick Fobbs remained unbeaten against the Delta Devils.
Grambling State steps out of SWAC play for a week as the Tigers visit Soldier Field on Saturday, Sept. 30. Grambling State will meet Clark Atlanta in the Chicago Football Classic with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m.
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