Hornets shut out, Grambling wins

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Grambling State used three big first quarter plays to pull away from Alabama State for a 34-0 Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) victory at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium Saturday night.

Ezra Gray led all rushers, carrying the ball 20 times for 130 yards for Alabama State (1-3, 0-1 SWAC), setting a new career-high in the process. He averaged 6.5 yards per carry on the night, while Alex Anderson averaged 6.1 yards per carry on seven carries for 43 yards.

Darryl Pearson, Jr. finished 13-for-30 for 114 yards, but was sacked three times and threw a pair of interceptions. KHA’Darris Davis came in late in the third quarter to finish 4-of-11 for 53 yards, while he was sacked a pair of times and threw an interception. The duo connected with 10 different receivers, led by Wallace Corker with four catches for 24 yards.

Defensively, Christian Clark led the way with eight tackles, including a tackle for loss, while Dennis Roberts IV finished with five. Alabama State outgained Grambling State 309 to 291 on the night, running 83 plays from scrimmage.

Grambling State (1-2, 1-0 SWAC) used a false start penalty after an Anthony Craven punt went into the end zone for a touchback to force another punt by the Hornets. On the ensuing punt, Malik Route caught the ball on the run at 21-yard line and returned it 79 yards to give Grambling State a 7-0 lead with 10:32 to play in the opening quarter. The Tigers added another score after an Alabama State drive stalled at the Tigers’ 47-yard line, following a 57 yard run by Kevin Dominique to set up an 11-yard run by Aldon Clark with 5:56 to play in the quarter.

Alabama State was driving late in the quarter after a 31-yard run by Gray set the Hornets up inside the Grambling State 20. However, three plays later De’Arius Christmas batted a pass in the air and picked it off, running it back 66 yards for the score with 3:17 to play in the quarter.

The Hornets had their chances throughout the contest, missing a pair of field goals and having drives ended on sacks or back-to-back incomplete passes due to pressure. Alabama State had a chance to score late in the fourth quarter when Joshua Hill returned a punt 55 yards to set the team up inside the 20, however, they were unable to convert and were forced into a three-and-out.

Alabama State will be off next week, returning to action October 6 against Alcorn State on the road in their East Division opener.

The game will kick at 2 pm and can be heard on the Hornet Sports Network beginning at 1:30 pm.