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.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers…
The first half saw a total of six turnovers (Texas Southern – two fumbles and one interception; Grambling State – two interceptions and one fumble) and a blocked Texas Southern punt. Between the two teams, those turnovers and the special teams block resulted in all the points scored in the first half (21).
Aside from the turnovers in the first half, Geremy Hickbottom threw two touchdown passes in the second half as Grambling State was able to pull away in the third quarter to get the victory.
Inside the Numbers
> Grambling State recorded 27 first downs
> GSU finished with 529 total yards, including 345 through the air
> Geremy Hickbottom was 29-of-44 passing for 345 yards, two interceptions and three touchdowns
> Devante Davis finished with seven receptions for a team-high 114 yards (16.3 ypc.) and one score
> Calief Samon registered 82 yards on eight catches, with one score
> Devohn Lindsey added four catches for 48 yards
> Geremy Hickbottom led the ground game with 79 yards on 19 carries
> Johntavious Robinson finished with 58 yards on 10 touches
> De'Arius Christmas tallied eight tackles, including seven solo stops
> Joseph McWilliams added six tackles, with five solo stops
> Texas Southern tallied 24 first downs
> TSU registered 370 total yards of offense, with 312 coming through the air
> Devin Williams was 6-of-12 passing for 78 yards and one interception
> Glen Cuiellette finished with 104 passing yards on 7 of 12, with one interception and was sacked four times
> Jay Christophe was 5-of-11 through the air for a team-high 130 yards and one score
> Bobby Hartzog registered a game-high 190 yards on nine receptions and one score
> Tylor Cook paced TSU's ground game with 39 yards on eight carries and one touchdown
> Julian Marcantel led the defense with 11 tackles, with five solos
> Marquis Walker tallied eight tackles, including seven solo stops
News & Notes
> In perhaps the biggest upset of the day, GSU rival Southern stunned West Division leader Prairie View A&M, 38-0, to force a three-way tie (Grambling State, Southern and Prairie View A&M) atop the West Division standings. PVAMU still holds the tiebreaker over GSU based on head-to-head result
> Grambling State improved to 45-18-3 all-time in the series
> Broderick Fobbs remains perfect over Texas Southern (5-0)
> Marc Orozco is 14 points (four extra points and two field goals) away from becoming the GSU all-time leader in points by a kicker
> Grambling State improved to 5-2 during the Broderick Fobbs era when wearing white jerseys and gold pants
> Broderick Fobbs remained unbeaten in the month of October (15-0)
> GSU improved to 9-4 during the Broderick Fobbs era in games played in the state of Texas
> Broderick Fobbs is now eight wins shy of 50 for his coaching career
> Grambling State has won 27 out of its last 28 SWAC games dating back to the start of the 2015 season
> Geremy Hickbottom, who earned the SWAC Offensive Player of the Week honor last week, threw for over 300 yards for the first time in his collegiate career
> Geremy Hickbottom has now thrown six touchdowns over the past two weeks
> Devante Davis finished with seven catches for 114 yards and was the first GSU receiver over 100 yards receiving since Jordan Jones caught two passes for 103 yards in 2017 against Texas Southern
> Texas Southern played three quarterbacks in the first half (Glen Cuiellette, Devin Williams and Jay Christope)
> Hickbottom played the entire game at quarterback for GSU
Grambling State concludes its two-game road swing with a trip to Lorman, Miss. to take on Alcorn State next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. and the game will be streamed live on ESPN3 (broadcasted later on ESPNU). The Braves will enter the title next weekend off a 35-26 victory over Alabama A&M.
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