Homecoming might be delightful today at Grambling

TWO STRAIGHT?:  Grambling and coach Hue Jackson appear in position to pick up a second straight win today at Homecoming.  (Photo by KEVIN PICKENS, Journal Sports)

By T. SCOTT BOATRIGHT, Lincoln Parish Journal

GRAMBLING — First-year head coach Hue Jackson has good cause for optimism that his Grambling State Tigers will pick up their second straight Southwestern Athletic Conference win this afternoon at 2 as struggling Arkansas-Pine Bluff visits Eddie G. Robinson Memorial Stadium.

It’s the last of three homefield appearances this fall. It will be a day of honor and celebration as the Tigers will celebrate Military Appreciation Day, Senior Day and Homecoming as they try to build on last week’s dominating 35-6 victory over Alcorn State.

“We were happy to come away with a win,” Jackson said. “I think our players deserved it and our coaches deserved it. They worked extremely hard. I thought our defense played extremely well and I thought our offense made some plays in crucial moments that we needed, especially early that got us the lead.”

The Tigers (2-6 overall, 1-4 SWAC) took advantage of two Alcorn State turnovers and a blocked punt to get that early advantage. GSU led 28-0 at halftime. Grambling’s defensive domination showed with four sacks, 11 tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries and two interceptions.

Grambling will be facing a UAPB (2-6, 0-5) squad playing its second game under interim head coach Don Treadwell. He took over the Golden Lions after Doc Gamble was let go from the position on Oct. 20, four days following a 34-31 home loss to Alabama A&M.

Treadwell served as head coach at Miami of Ohio from 2011-13, where he chalked up a record of 8-21. He has more than 30 years of college coaching experience and has helped coach teams to four playoff appearances at the FCS level, 10 FBS bowl games, and a FCS National Championship while offensive coordinator at Youngstown State.

After missing three games with a shoulder injury, quarterback Skyler Perry returned to the field for UAPB in a 27-6 loss to Florida A&M last week, connecting on 21-of-38 passes for 173 yards with an interception.

True freshman quarterback Julian Calvez will be making his fourth start for the Tigers this weekend after connecting on seven-of-14 attempted passes for 58 yards while adding 10 rushing yards against Alcorn State.

On the season, Calvez has completed 36-of-95 passes for 366 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions while rushing for 233 yards and two scores on 43 carries.

“I trust him because I got to know him recruiting him,” Jackson said of his young gun. “He’ll tell you he knows there’s some things he can do better. But I trust him. 

“He works hard at it and there’s a lot of late night texts and early morning phone calls before class about little things. I’m just proud of him — the young man he’s becoming, the quarterback he’s becoming and the trust factor we have with each other. That’s something special.”

Defensively, Lewis Matthews leads the Tigers with 75 total tackles, including 41 solo stops while Joshua Quiett and Joshua Reed have added 57 takedowns each.

Sundiata Anderson leads the Tigers in sacks with 5.5 for 39 yards and tackles for loss with nine for 46 yards.

Anderson picked up 2.5 of those sacks during last weekend’s win over Alcorn State while totaling seven tackles.

“He promised me he was going to dominate the game, and he did,” Jackson said. “He told me that during practice and he lived up to that.”

Grambling leads the all-time series against UAPB 31-13-2, but the Golden Lions won last fall’s matchup, defeating the Tigers 33-26.

Today’s game will be streamed live on ESPN+ with Santoria Black and Ken Moore making the call. 

The Grambling State Sports Radio Network  will broadcast and stream the game with the Tigers’ radio broadcast crew of Ossie Clark and Chyelle Flowers calling the action.

Contact Scott at tscottboatright@gmail.com