DALLAS – Freshman running back Johnta Hebert’s 75-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was just the tip of the iceberg in Prairie View A&M’s 31-14 win over Grambling State in the State Fair Classic Saturday night at the Cotton Bowl. The win marked the first time since 1963-64 that PV has defeated GSU in consecutive seasons.
Herbert’s special teams play energized a team hungry for its first win of the season, and the Panthers rode that momentum en route to their most balanced game of the season despite being penalized 18 times for 141 yards.
The Panthers overcame those penalties and controlled the tempo with a solid running game, which was highlighted by a 130-yard, one-touchdown performance by sophomore running back Courtney Brown. Prairie View A&M gained 472 total yards of offense, including 273 yards of rushing.
Defensively, Prairie View A&M turned in its most clutch performance of the season. It limited the Tigers to 2-of-11 on third down conversions. The Panthers were almost as successful on stopping Grambling State fourth downs as they held their opponents to 2-for-6, forcing four turnovers on down.
Prairie View A&M took a 10-7 lead into the second quarter after a Chris Barrick 33-yard field goal with 5:55 left in the first broke a 7-7 tie. Grambling sophomore quarterback D.J. Williams gave his team a 14-10 lead as he ran in his team’s last touchdown of the night from 19 yards out with 11:46 left in the half. Prairie View A&M deflated the Tigers’ moral with a timely 41-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Jerry Lovelocke to Hebert with 39 seconds left in the half to put PV up 17-14. That play capped off a 14-play, 91-yard drive for the Panthers.
Lovelocke finished an 82-yard drive with a 1-yard quarterback keeper with 5:37 left in the third quarter to give the Panthers a 10-point lead. Brown solidified his team’s victory with a 45-yard run off the left tackle into the end zone with 1:38 left in the fourth.
Junior linebacker Chuck Obi led the way for the the Panthers defensively with 10 total tackles, and senior defensive end Jarvis Wilson finished one total tackle behind him with nine. Sophomore linebacker Jerome Howard had eight tackles and led the Panthers with two tackles for loss and one sack.
Prairie View A&M improved to 1-5 (1-3 SWAC), while Grambling dropped to 0-5 (0-4 SWAC). The Panthers have a bye week before they host Alcorn State (2-4, 2-2 SWAC) in their homecoming game at Blackshear Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 2:30 p.m..
The game will be broadcasted on Comcast Sports Houston.