The Grambling State Tigers outlasted the Alcorn State Braves’ fourth quarter comeback to become the Southwestern Athletic Conference champions for the second year in a row in a 40-32 win Saturday at NRG Stadium.

“I thought us being so explosive in the second quarter put them on their heels, and they just ran out of time,” said Grambling State head coach Broderick Fobbs.

“We weren’t a great team tonight, we were a good team but not a great team,” said Grambling State linebacker De’Arius Christmas.

The Braves scored 22 points in the fourth quarter alone but Grambling State’s 38-10 lead at halftime was just too much for the Braves to come back from. The Tigers’ defense held tough on a potential game-winning drive with time expiring.

La Marque High School grad Kendall Hill finished the game with two tackles.

The Tigers and the Braves both looked like evenly matched teams in the first quarter, scoring 10 points each.

In the second quarter, the Tigers turned the jets on and left the Braves in the dust scoring 28 unanswered points.

The Tigers were led by their two stars on offense, Martez Carter at running back and Devante Kincade at quarterback. Kincade scored three touchdowns in the quarter, one running and two passing. While Carter found the end zone from 5 yards out.

The Tigers were in the lead at the half 38-10.

“We came out flat in the second half, lost momentum, and once it goes, it snowballs,” said Fobbs.

The Braves tried to get something started on offense on their first drive in the second half, but the Tigers’ defense wouldn’t budge. The Tigers’ defense stopped the Braves’ on fourth down at the Tigers’ 3-yard line.

The Braves couldn’t get anything to go their way in this game. Braves kicker Corey McCullough missed a 41-yard field goal attempt wide to the left.

The Tigers’ defensive line kept getting to the ball carriers and tackling them behind the line of scrimmage throughout the game. Brandon Varner tackled the Braves’ De’Lance Turner in the end zone for the fourth safety for the Tigers this season.

The Braves scored their first points since the first quarter with 12:53 left in the fourth quarter. Lenorris Footman threw a strike to Norlando Veals for a 34-yard touchdown. The touchdown was setup by the Braves’ strip sack of the Tigers backup quarterback Geremy Hickbottom.

The Braves added another touchdown in the fourth quarter. Footman kept the ball on the read option and found the end zone from 5 yards out.

The Braves comeback attempt fell short after Footman connected with Marquis Warford to the Tigers’ 30-yard line. Three plays later, Turner found the end zone from 6 yards out. The Braves converted on the two-point conversion to put them down by only eight points.

The Tigers will face the North Carolina A&T Aggies in Atlanta on Dec. 16 in the Celebration Bowl. The winner will become the champions of HBCU Division 1 football.

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