HOUSTON, Texas | Geremy Hickbottom threw for over 300 yards and tossed three touchdowns as the Grambling State University football team used a strong third quarter to get past Texas Southern, 34-21, in a Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) game on Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.
“Texas Southern is a tremendous football team and is very-well coached,” Grambling State head coach Broderick Fobbs said. “We made some key mistakes in the first half as we turned the ball over. We played well on both sides of the football and our kids continued to battle. We will take a look at the film and makes those adjustments as we prepare for next week against Alcorn State.”
Neither team could get much going offensively in the opening quarter. Both teams were able to move the football into the red zone and turned the ball over on fumbles.
After a scoreless first quarter, Grambling State (3-3 overall, 2-1 SWAC) had a chance to put points on the board when Marc Orozco’s 32-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Jarryl Taylor to keep the game scoreless.
Texas Southern (1-5, 0-2) picked up a first down on its next offensive possession, but a key sack by Jeremy Carter and a pass breakup by Chris Grant forced another TSU punt. However, Joseph McWilliams came in off the left side and blocked the Aaron Cuevas punt as Devante Davis scooped up the loose ball and ran six yards into the endzone to give Grambling State a 7-0 lead with 12:55 remaining in the first half.
After stopping Texas Southern on downs, Grambling State’s offense moved the ball, but Geremy Hickbottom was intercepted at the TSU 43.
Texas Southern cashed that turnover into points as TSU marched 52 yards in five plays as Tylor Cook scored on a 1-yard run to tie the game at 7 with 4:48 left in the second quarter.
Grambling State turned the ball over on downs on its next offensive possession, but on first down, TSU quarterback Glen Cuiellette was strip-sacked by De’Arius Christmas and the ball was recovered by Johnkil Skipper.
Just two plays after the turnover, Hickbottom connected with Kobe’ Ross for a 28-yard touchdown to give GSU a 14-7 lead with 2:33 left in the second.
Grambling State had a chance to extend the advantage right before the half, but Hickbottom was picked off at the TSU 1 by Matt Stephenson with 51 seconds remaining in the second.
Texas Southern looked to answer after the turnover, but Anfernee Mullins sacked Cuiellette as Grambling State took a 14-7 advantage into the break.
Grambling State took the opening kickoff of the second half and marched 64 yards in 10 plays as GSU settled for an Orozco 34-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-7 with 10:49 remaining in the third quarter.
However, Texas Southern quickly answered the GSU scoring drive as Jay Christophe connected with Bobby Hartzog down the right sideline for a 75-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 17-14 with 10:38 left in the quarter.
Grambling State answered the scoring drive as GSU put together a seven play, 75-yard drive, capped when Hickbottom completed two passes to Devante Davis. His first pass covered 17 yards and the last was a 24-yard strike to push the margin to 24-14 with 7:32 remaining in the third.
After a Texas Southern punt, Grambling State moved the ball 58 yards in five plays as Calief Samon caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Hickbottom as GSU started pulling away with a 31-14 lead with 2:43 left in the quarter.
Texas Southern would not go away quietly as TSU went 75 yards for the score. Devin Williams found Chris Long in the back of the endzone for an 8-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 31-21 with 14:53 remaining in the fourth quarter.
After a turnover, GSU got a 35-yard field goal by Orozco to push the margin to 34-21 with 8:01 remaining.