The game kicks off with TSU receiving the ball first in this must-win game. The offense was unable to move the ball, which lead to a 3 and out. Grambling started hot on offense, kept the ball moving while running the hurry-up offense. They were able to get into the red zone but a costly turnover by running back Kevin Dominque lead to TSU taking over.
TSU was able to gain a couple first downs and the drive looked promising but they were stopped on a 3rd and 5. Grambling takes over on the 10-yard line, but again Grambling punted after not showing much on the second possession.
TSU was able to move the ball effectively their third time with the ball. The offense was able to flow with quarterback Devin Williams behind center taking over for Grad transfer Glen Cuiellette. Thanks to a couple misdirection play, Williams lead the offense down to the half yard line. The end zone was in a baby arm length, but a huge fumble by running back, Brad Woodard lead to Grambling taking over deep in their own territory.
There was a lot of back and forth in the first quarter, huge turnovers on both ends which lead to a 0-0 score at the end of the first quarter. Grambling looked to take a 3-0 lead to start the second quarter but TSU blocked the field goal and returned it to the 20-yard line.
The TSU Tigers looked like a totally different team from the previous week on defense in the first half. The defense looks much more energetic, making key stops and flying to the ball. They have caused two turnovers early on in the game, giving the Grambling Tigers a difficult time sustaining drives.
Grambling Tigers blocked the TSU Tigers punt, which was returned for a TD by Joseph McWilliams. With Grambling finally able to break out in the game, the TSU Tigers looked to switch it up on offense to start the drive; Jay Christophe started the drive behind center. Three quarterbacks had appeared for the TSU Tigers but it resulted in 0 points and turnover on 4th down. The defense took over on the 32-yard line and had a huge pick by Julian Marcentel. The defense continued to bail the offense out, and the musical chairs at quarterback continued for the TSU Tigers. Cuillette starts behind the center on the following driver and made a big-time throw and catch to Bobby Hartzog. Running back Tylor Cook, punches it in from the one-yard line and the P.A.T was good. The score is 7-7 with 4:48 seconds left before half.
The next couple of series were odd and questionable. TSU stops Grambling on 4th and 6, just to give the ball back to Grambling due to sack fumble by De’Arius Christmas. A huge questionable no-call by the refs not calling the fumble by Gramling’s Devante Davis in the end zone. This no call lead to a 28-yard touchdown to Kobe Ross. Now 14-7, Cuillette throws a costly interception with 2:31 left to go in the 2nd. The turnovers have put a lot of pressure on the TSU defense to keep the game close for the offense to help them out but it hasn’t been easy. Grambling gets down to the 1-yard line but the big unsportsmanlike conduct pushes them back to the 16-yard line. This leads to Matthew Stevenson picking off Hickbottom and returns it the 40-yard line. First half ends 14-7, Grambling in the lead.
When asked about his defensive play in the first half, Coach Haywood said, “I think our defense playing great”. To the team’s credit, they have played considerably better on all levels than a week ago. Last week, they totaled 8 penalties in the first half. This week, only 1 for 13 yards. No red zone touchdowns played with more energy. Some missed opportunities affected the score at the half but coach Haywood said in past weeks post game that he wanted to make a change and get guys in the game that could affect the team in a positive way. Mixed up a lot on the offensive end, and besides a couple sacks, the offensive line played better as well.
Now, its halftime at a Grambling and TSU football game. Bring on the bands.
The second half starts with Grambling receiving the ball, and a huge 33 yard run by Johntavious Robinson. Missed opportunities on this drive for this TSU Tiger defense, one huge dropped interception by Joshua Murray and Patrick Howell. TSU was able to keep Grambling from scoring 6, but Grambling was able to make good on a field, and extend the lead to 17-7.
The TSU Tigers starts the quarter with Jay Christophe back behind center. The defense has played hard and gave the offense the stops it needed to make it a game. How did the offense respond out of the gate? Christophe to Hartzog for a 75-yard strike right to pay dirt! The game is now 17-14, Grambling. At this point in the game, TSU has lit a fire under themselves and the home crowd.
Grambling Tigers answers the TSU Tiger touchdown with a big drive and touchdown of their own. Hickbottom to Devante Davis on a big 24-yard pitch and catch. The score is 24-14 with 7:32 left in the third.
TSU took over and were unable to effectively move the ball to get in scoring range. With a huge sack on Christophe by Kenan Fontenot, which lead to a punt. It looked like the defense started to break down due to fatigue. They gave up another touchdown pass which led to 31-14, Grambling leads the game.
Devin Williams started the next series for the TSU Tigers and he did spark the offense. He led a 75-yard drive which ended a big 8-yard touchdown. Williams to Chris Long. 31-20, TSU makes strides to stage a comeback.
Even in the midst of mounting the comeback, the second half is full of inconsistencies for the TSU Tigers and became a theme for them. After forcing a punt, they were unable to move the ball to make it a close game. A couple of big penalties and missed opportunities were evident of the troubles they had with moving and stopping the ball consistently. The Tigers fought hard but it is hard to win a game when you allow 11 different receivers to catch passes and 345 passing yards. The final score is 34-21 with Grambling stealing an away game.
When asked about the team performance, coach Haywood said, “I think our team played with great enthusiasm”. He also went on say that he believes “a new Qb emerged, with Devin Williams.
The Tigers looked to bounce back and end their 5 game losing streak next week against Southern in Dallas, Tx.