NEW ORLEANS (AP) Martez Carter had 279 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns as Grambling defeated Southern 52-30 to claim the Southwestern Athletic Conference West Division title in the Bayou Classic on Saturday.
The Tigers (9-1, 9-0) advanced to the SWAC title game for the second consecutive year. They’ll face East Division champion Alcorn State next Saturday in Houston.
Carter rushed 10 times for 118 yards and two touchdowns, returned two kickoffs for 104 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown, caught one pass for 28 yards, returned one kickoff for 16 yards and returned three punts for 29 yards.
Grambling’s DeVante Kincade completed 24-of-33 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown and ran nine times for 56 yards and a touchdown.
After being held scoreless in the second quarter, the Tigers scored on the first possession of the third quarter as Kincade ran 45 yards for touchdown that increased the Tigers lead to 24-13.
Three plays after Grambling stopped Southern on a fourth-and-1 at the Tigers 13, Carter ran 66 yards for a touchdown and Lyndemian Brooks ran 34 yards for a touchdown and a 38-13 lead with 4:02 left in the third quarter.
One play after a Grambling fumble, Austin Howard threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Lenard Tillery to get the Jaguars within 38-20 after three quarters. Tillery also ran 25 times for 230 yards and a touchdown.
Kincade threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Chad Williams before Southern’s Ruan Albuquerque made a 32-yard field goal with 6:56 left. Carter returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown.
Howard threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Tillery with 3 seconds left.
Southern took the opening kickoff and drove to an 18-yard touchdown pass from Howard to Willie Quinn and a 6-0 lead after the extra point was missed.
On the ensuing possession, Carter ran 11 yards for a touchdown that gave Grambling a 7-6 lead.
The Jaguars were poised to re-take the lead but Howard fumbled at the Tigers 1 and the ball went through the end zone for a touchback.
Williams’ 32-yard halfback pass to Verlan Hunter gave Grambling a 14-6 lead after one quarter.
Tillery’s 85-yard touchdown run pulled Southern within 17-13 at halftime.
Grambling: The Tigers are back as a perennial SWAC contender after playing for the West Division title for the third consecutive year and winning it for the second consecutive year. The Tigers finished 9-0 in the SWAC regular season for the second consecutive year.
Southern: The Jaguars high-scoring offense wasn’t up to par as the Grambling defense contained quarterback Austin Howard and big-play wide receiver/return specialist Willie Quinn. Running back Lenard Tillery, the SWAC’s all-time leading rusher, had a big game in the final game of his collegiate career with 230 yards, including an 85-yard touchdown, as well as a 14-yard touchdown reception.
Grambling: The Tigers will play East Division champion Alcorn State in the SWAC Championship Game next Saturday in Houston. Grambling will try to avenge a 49-21 loss to Alcorn in last year’s title game.
Southern: The Jaguars season ended with the loss. They finished with a winning record for the fourth consecutive season.
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org