The 2011 Southwestern Athletic Conference football season was an unusual one to say the least. In between all the coaching decisions, brawls, controversies, late season collapses and championships won, there were some memorable games. Here are some of the best.
JACKSON STATE 28, SOUTHERN 21
The heavily favored Tigers found themselves trailing Southern 24-21 late in the fourth quarter in a game where all-world senior quarterback Casey Therriault had thrown two interceptions and lost a fumble.
However, with 4:36 minutes to play, Therriault, along with running back B.J. Lee ( who finished the game with 81 yards on the ground) helped drive Jackson State 65 yards for the game-winning score, capped off by a 12-yard touchdown reception to Rico Richardson.
FLORIDA A&M 38, SOUTHERN 33
When Southern defensive back Demetric Rogers returned an Austin Trainor interception 59 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter to increase the Jaguars lead to 33-17 over Florida A&M, it appeared the Atlanta Football Classic was over.
That was before Rattlers running back scored three touchdowns in the final 15:11 minutes, including a two-yard scamper with 3:27 remaining in regulation, to hand the Jaguars its worst loss in the Stump Mitchell era.
GRAMBLING STATE 30, MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE 24
Prior to clashing with Grambling, Mississippi Valley State suffered a heart-breaking 17-16 defeat at the hands of in-state rival Jackson State the week earlier to break their string of fifteen straight double digit losses.
Through 45 minutes versus the Tigers it appeared the Delta Devils would start a new streak as they were trailing 24-7 at one point. MVSU would surprisingly stage a dramatic comeback to force overtime on a three yard run by Garrick Jones as time expired in regulation to tie score at 24. Lady Luck, however, ran out for Karl Morgan’s bunch as Grambling scored on a Mario Louis touchdown to conclude matters. The Delta Devils would go on to notch their first win in two years the following Saturday against defending SWAC champion Texas Southern.
ALABAMA A&M 20, ALABAMA STATE 19
When the Alabama A&M and Alabama State football squads look back on the 2011 season, what transpired during the Magic City Classic will be viewed as an inflection point. The winner of this game would have the inside track on capturing the SWAC Eastern Division crown.
The Bulldogs, who won five consecutive games after dropping their first two games of the season, jumped out to a 17-0 first-half lead over the first-place Hornets. Alabama State tied the game at 20 a piece midway through the fourth after a Devin Dominguez touchdown. That was before Chartavious Keith blocked the extra point attempt by Bobby Wenzig to preserve the win that eventually sent the Bulldogs to the SWAC Championship Game.
GRAMBLING STATE 26, JACKSON STATE 23
A funny thing happened on the way to winning a Black National Champion for a 7-1 Jackson State football squad on November 5, 2011. All the No.1 ranked HBCU team (at the time) had to do against Grambling State was to run out the final three minutes to secure the win.
Not so much. A muffed punt here and a mismanagement of the clock in the final seconds there…and Grambling had stolen one from Jackson State. Grambling would go onto to win the next four and the SWAC title in the process. Jackson State finished the season tied for 1st in the SWAC East division and No. 3 in the SBN national rankings.