DALLAS – Grambling State scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to claim a 34-14 victory over Prairie View A&M in the annual State Fair Classic at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday evening before 43,754 spectators.
A blocked punt by Prairie View’s Adrian Hamilton after Grambling’s initial offensive drive set up the Panthers’ first score of the night as Brady Faggard recorded a 29-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. Grambling State’s Kenneth Batiste returned the ensuing kickoff 42 yards after the score and Grambling took advantage as they relied on its ground game to move ahead 7-3 on freshman quarterback Anthony Carrothers’ 11-yard run at the 8:38 mark of the first stanza. Two drives later, Panther cornerback Moses Ellis came up big on the defensive side of the ball as he picked off Carrothers deep in GSU territory. Senior running back Donald Babers punched it in from six yards out on the next possession to move Prairie View ahead 10-7 with 2:46 left in the first quarter.
As the second quarter came to a close, Grambling State moved on top once again as Tiger running back Frank Warren rushed it in from two yards out. Zolton Rialto’s PAT sailed through the uprights as the Tigers took a 14-10 lead into halftime.
Prairie View began the third quarter with a bang as kick returner Michael Benson opened the half with a 51-yard return to the GSU 46. Fullback Devin Brown rushed for 20 yards on the drive and set up Prairie View’s second touchdown of the night as quarterback K.J. Black found a wide open Shaun Stephens in the corner of the end zone for the go-ahead score. Kyle Mathews’ PAT was good as Prairie View regained a 17-14 margin.
Grambling State marched 70 yards in six plays to jump back on top 20-17 following Warren’s 12-yard scamper. From that point, both teams endured the turnover bug as Prairie View fumbled at the GSU 3 followed by a Grambling fumble at the PV 12.
With 4:21 left in the fourth quarter, Grambling went ahead by two possessions as Carrothers hooked up with wide receiver Kiare Thompson for a 59-yard strike. Prairie View suffered a blocked field goal on its ensuing drive and Grambling’s Cornelius Walker iced the game on a 66-yard touchdown run with 1:24 remaining in the half.
Prairie View totaled 316 total offensive yards to Grambling’s 448. Prairie View’s K.J. Black threw for 247 yards and two touchdowns on 20-of-32 passing while Shaun Stephens caught six passes for 94 yards with a score. Chris Adingupu led the Panthers defensively with nine tackles.