Jenkins’ scoring run was set up by P Bobby Wenzig’s 14-yard run from punt formation on 4th and 2 from the ASU 38-yard line. Three plays later, Jenkins knifed through the Grambling defense for the winning touchdown to complete the eight-play, 70-yard drive.
“(Special teams coach John) Hendrick and Bobby did a great job of recognizing that we could do that,” head coach Reggie Barlow said of the play call. “We trusted Bobby to make the call on it.”
The Hornets’ defense allowed just one first down on Grambling’s final drive and stopped the Tigers on downs with 2:48 remaining.
“We were a battle tested team,” Barlow said. “We made some mistakes. We made a lot of mistakes, but the mark of a team that’s learning and growing is you know how to respond to adversity. Our guys did that and we stayed in it. We gave up (too many plays) but the guys continued to fight and I’m proud of them.”
Alabama State (2-1 overall, 2-0 Southwestern Athletic Conference) had taken a 13-12 lead early in the fourth quarter on Isaiah Crowell’s three-yard touchdown run with 12:49 remaining in the game.
Grambling State (0-3, 0-2) came back with a touchdown on the ensuing drive on a 10-yard scoring pass from backup quarterback Frank Rivers to Anthony McGhee to take an 18-13 win with 6:41 remaining as the two-point conversion failed prior to Alabama State’s game-winning drive.
Jenkins totaled 203 yards (138 passing, 65 rushing), accounting for two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing), while Crowell rushed 15 times for 98 yards and one touchdown.
“We know if those two guys are on it, we have an outstanding opportunity,” Barlow said. “Both guys were on it and played hard, and Crow ran the ball hard and Greg did some good things for us. We’re just blessed to have those two guys.”
The Hornets’ defense allowed just 78 rushing yards against the Tigers, the lowest output yielded this season.
“We did do a good job of stopping the run, we really did,” Barlow said of his run defense, which allowed 30 of those yards on one carry and 48 yards on the other 34 carries. “Grambling attacked us in some other areas, so we just have to continue to get better and don’t let it be just one time. We want to stop it every game.”
WR T.C. McWilliams caught five passes for 56 yards and one touchdown, including three catches for 30 yards on the game-winning drive.
FS Kejuan Riley’s 19th career interception in the second quarter led to ASU’s first score of the night, a nine-yard scoring strike from Jenkins to McWilliams to give the Hornets their first lead at 7-6 with 4:45 to play until halftime.
The Hornets host Arkansas-Pine Bluff Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Cramton Bowl. Fans are encouraged to wear gold to the game, which will be televised live on ESPNU.