Grambling State University entered Saturday’s game against the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a streak of 24 consecutive regular season Southwestern Athletic Conference wins.
The Tigers kept the streak alive by defeating the Golden Lions by a final of 31-26.
Nineteen Golden Lion seniors were honored prior to the start of the senior day football game.
Among them was UAPB senior quarterback Brandon Duncan, who got the start because previous starter Le'Earl Patterson is still recovering from an injury suffered in last week’s game against Southern. Duncan was locked in from the jump, and he helped the Golden Lions get off to a fast start. On the Golden Lions’ first offensive drive, they hit the Tigers with a mixture of runs and passes to move the ball inside the red zone.
The Grambling defense got a small win by holding UAPB to a 28-yard field goal by Jamie Gillan.
Grambling senior 1st team All-SWAC quarterback Devante Kincade and his offense then took the field. Just like the offense, the UAPB defense got off to a fast start. On second down, Golden Lion defensive tackle Johnny Daniels got in the back field for a sack that eventually led to the first punt of the game.
The Tigers’ defense responded by forcing Gillan to come out for his first punt of the game.
That's when the Grambling offense would find a rhythm and put together their first scoring drive of the game. On the drive, Kincade completed 7/8 passes, capping it off with an 11-yard touchdown pass to his 2nd team All-SWAC receiver Jordan Jones.
Last week, Duncan connected with his receiver Jeremy Brown for two second half touchdowns, and in the first quarter of this one, they picked up from where they left off. After completing a deep pass to Brown, Duncan showed off his wheels with a 31-yard quarterback keeper. On the ensuing play, Duncan found his wide-out Kolby McNeal down the middle of the Tigers’ defense for a 20-yard touchdown completion.
Right before the end of quarter one, the Tigers would score again after Kincade picked up a big gain on the ground. Kincade found Darrell Clark for a 16-yard touchdown completion to put Grambling on top 14-10.
Early in the second quarter, the Golden Lions would force the first turnover of the game as Nijul Canada picked off Kincade. Although it wasn't a touchdown, the Golden Lions did produce points off of the turnover, as Gillan connected on his second field goal from 34 yards out to cut Grambling's lead to 14-13.
The Golden Lions’ defense would then force another three and out, allowing UAPB a chance to regain the lead. However, the Golden Lions moved the ball into Grambling's territory, but the drive ended with a 49-yard missed field goal by Gillan.
Kincade took advantage and quickly moved the ball into scoring position for the Tigers. UAPB forced the Tigers into a fourth and short situation, but Grambling converted with a controversial catch on the UAPB three yard line. On the ensuing play, Grambling running back Martez Carter punched it in from three yards out to increase their lead to 21-13.
That's when the game would take a major turn, as Duncan went down with an apparent head injury. A Grambling defender was called for targeting and ejected from the game.
Red-shirt senior Marcus Terrell entered the game for Duncan. It took Terrell a drive or two to get his feet under himself, and on his first drive, he committed the first UAPB turnover of the game by throwing an interception.
The Tigers took advantage, and Kincade connected with Marquise Kaigler for a seven-yard touchdown, his third touchdown pass of the game.
Due to a big turn of events late in the second quarter, Grambling took a 28-13 lead into the intermission.
Coming out of halftime, it was reported that Duncan would be out the remainder of the game, meaning Terrell had to shoulder the load.
The Golden Lions’ defense played lights out in the third quarter, forcing Grambling into their only scoreless third quarter of the season. On offense, UAPB had a couple nice drives, but the only points that they garnered in the third came from a 35-yard field goal by Gillan to make the score 28-16 heading into the fourth.
Early in the fourth, Terrell started to produce through the air. He capped off a methodical nine-play drive with a nine-yard passing touchdown to McNeal. That was Terrell's first passing touchdown of the season.
The UAPB defense left it all out on the field, as they were making it hard for the Tigers to get anything going on the ground or through the air.
Trailing 28-24, the Golden Lions would then commit their second turnover of the game, as running back Christian Jordan fumbled on his first carry. Grambling took over on the UAPB 18 yard line, and that's when the UAPB defense proved that they weren't going anywhere.
With a short field, the Tigers didn't get any positive yardage, and they were held to a 38-yard field goal that increased their lead to eight points.
Down by a possession, the Golden Lions were very much still in the game. Terrell hit KeShawn Williams out the backfield for a big gain to get the drive going. On the next play, Dante McDonald burst up the middle for a 24-yard run to put UAPB inside the Grambling red zone. From there, the drive would stall, and Gillan would connect on a 43-yard field goal for his fourth of the game with 2:04 to play.
Then, the Golden Lions defense did their job by forcing Grambling into a 3 and out punting situation. Terrell and the offense took the field with .49 seconds to score a game winning touchdown, but the Tiger defense stood strong and got a stop to end the game.