HOUSTON, Texas. – Grambling State senior quarterback Devante Kincade completed 14-of-24 passes for 223 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for 75 yards with two more scores on the ground as the Tigers rode a gigantic second quarter to power past Alcorn State 40-32 Saturday to win back-to-back SWAC Football Championships at NRG Stadium.
For Grambling State, it marks their eighth football championship in the SWAC title game era that started in 1999.
The East Division winning Braves (7-5, 5-2 SWAC) and West Division winning Tigers (11-1, 7-0 SWAC) had split the prior two championship meetings with Grambling rallying back to take last year’s championship 27-20 and Alcorn proclaiming a 49-21 victory in the 2015 title game.
Final Judgement saw the teams play out relatively evenly in a tight first quarter with the scored tied at 10-10.
Kincade, the SWAC Offensive Player of the Year, gave the Tigers the first lead on a 14-yard touchdown run with 12:06 remaining in the first quarter, but the Braves had an answer when conference leading rusher De’Lance Turner rumbled in from two yards out to help knot the score at 7-7 with 7:50 left.
After Grambling’s Marc Orozco and Alcorn’s Corey McCullough traded field goals, the Tigers broke open with a 28-point second quarter highlighted by a five-yard touchdown run by Martez Carter, two passing scores from Kincade (one to Jordan Jones and another to Quintin Guice) and another on a 27-yard rushing score to take a comfortable 38-10 lead into halftime.
The defense stiffened in the third quarter with neither team able to score.
Grambling halted Turner in the end zone for a safety to increase the lead to 40-10 early in the fourth and then Alcorn State began a furious attempted rally as Norlando Veals scored on a 34-yard touchdown toss from Lenorris Footman with 12:53 left. Footman added another score when he took it himself to score from five yards out. McCullough’s PAT made a 40-24 score with 6:11 remaining in the game.
And, the Braves were not finished as Footman found Marquis Warford on a deep 65-yard pass to set up a six-yard touchdown run by Turner. Footman followed up by finding Veals toward the corner of the end zone for a successful two-point conversion to cut the lead to 40-32.
Kincade was named the SWAC Championship Offensive Most Valuable’s Player while De’Andre Hogues was dubbed the game’s Defensive Most Valuable Player after making a team-high seven tackles to go along with a sack and a tackle for a loss.
Guided by head coach Broderick Fobbs, the Tigers have now won 10 straight games and last lost to a conference opponent in the 2015 SWAC Championship against Alcorn State.
Grambling State advances to represent the SWAC in the Celebration Bowl and will play undefeated North Carolina A&T on December 16 in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.