Grambling ends long road, looks to snap skid at Alabama A&M

SEEKING A TURNAROUND:  Quarterback Quaterius Hawkins and the Grambling State Tigers will play at Alabama A&M today, hoping to end a series of second-half struggles. (Photo courtesy Grambling State Athletics)

By T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT, Lincoln Parish Journal

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — One more on the road.

Nearly midway through the 2022 football season, Grambling State will play the last of six straight road games today as the Tigers take on Alabama A&M at 1 p.m. in Louis Crews Stadium.

But before they play their first home game of the season next week, the Tigers will be looking to play their “first full game” of 2022 against Alabama A&M after struggling to play at full momentum and intensity during their first five games with a 1-4 record (0-2 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference) being the result of that inconsistency.

Poor play in the second half was costly for Grambling in losses to both Jackson State and Bethune-Cookman. The Tigers trailed Jackson State by only four points at the halftime of their matchup with JSU leading 21-17 at intermission. Grambling led 19-17 at intermission of its game at Bethune-Cookman only to end up on the losing side of a 36-19 scoreboard.

The Tigers turned in a stronger second-effort in a 31-14 loss to Prairie View A&M. But in that game, the Tigers were no-shows in the first half as the Panthers used a methodical offensive attack, taking a 7-0 lead at the 4:31 mark of the opening stanza and building a 27-0 advantage by halftime.

During his Monday press conference, GSU head coach Hue Jackson said the Tigers are heading in the right direction despite the setback in last weekend’s State Fair Classic and are looking to put the first five weeks behind them as they gear up for their last road game until Nov. 12.

“We’ve got to move forward and have to be able to put these first five weeks behind us and move forward as fast as we can,” Jackson said. 

But Jackson knows that Alabama A&M (1-4, 1-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) is probably significantly better than its current record indicates.

“We know we are playing a really good football team regardless of what records are,” Jackson said. “Coach (Connell) Maynor does a great job with his team, offensively, defensively and special teams wise. They’ve got a lot of different looks they’ll give you and we’ve got a tall task ahead of ourselves getting ready for this football game.”

Alabama A&M is coming off a  35-27 Homecoming last weekend over Bethune-Cookman. 

Sophomore running back Donovan Eaglin played a huge role in the Bulldogs’ win over Bethune-Cookman, rushing for 190 yards and two touchdowns while adding two receptions for 12 yards and a third score.

That effort earned Eaglin both BOXTOROW National and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Player of the Week accolades.

Grambling State leads the all-time series, 21-6, and the Tigers have won five straight in the series. GSU stunned the then-ranked No. 1 team in Black College football 37-28 in last year’s matchup at Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.

Jackson will be looking for better quarterback play — something that has severely lacked for the Tigers so far this season  — in this year’s showdown against the Bulldogs. 

Last weekend against Prairie View Quaterius Hawkins started the game at quarterback for Grambling but backup quarterback Julian Calvez played nearly the entire second half. Jackson hasn’t indicated if he might start Calvez.

Today’s game will be streamed live by HBCU GO with Jon Kelley and Charlie Neal making the call. 

Grambling State will broadcast and stream the game on the Grambling State Sports Radio Network.

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