By: Candice Dixson, Sports Information Staff
RUSTON, La. l J’Mar Smith threw for 220 yards, including one touchdown, as Louisiana Tech’s football team delivered a 20-14 victory over Grambling State on Saturday afternoon at Joe Aillet Stadium.
“I thought we did some good things, but we got to play better,” said Grambling State Head Coach Broderick Fobbs. “We have to finish. We had an opportunity, several opportunities, but we didn’t take advantage of them today.”
Saturday afternoon’s game paid homage to Orville Kince (O.K. “Buddy”) Davis, a native of Ruston who covered the Tigers’ and Bulldogs’ athletic events in the Ruston Daily Leader. Davis passed away at age 72 on July 13 in Ruston.
The Tigers’ (0-2 overall, 0-0 SWAC) first drive of the game was 11 plays for 75 yards with nearly four and a half minutes time of possession. Damien Crumitie got as close as the 5 yard line before possession of the ball was given to Louisiana Tech (1-1, 0-0 C-USA).
Louisiana Tech unlocked the scoring column with a seven yard touchdown run by Justin Henderson into the end zone (9 plays, 80 yards) followed by a PAT. At the end of the first quarter, Louisiana Tech led, 7-0.
At the start of the second quarter, the Bulldogs added more points to the score board with a 33-yard field goal attempt by Bailey Hale. Defensively, the Tigers tallied a total of 26 tackles (including six by Brendan Vaughn). With less than five minutes remaining in the second quarter, Smith’s 40-yard pass to Hebert Griffin (five plays for 69 yards) gave Louisiana Tech the 17-0 advantage.
On Grambling State’s next possession, the offense suffered tremendously as Geremy Hickbottom was sacked twice for a loss of a total of 11 yards. The Tigers had possession of the ball for less than two minutes and were only able to execute three plays.
At the half, Bulldogs led, 20-0 after Hale’s 48-yard field goal attempt was successful. Hickbottom threw 17 passes for 74 yards. Smith of Louisiana Tech threw 19 passes for 154 yards.
The Bulldogs began the second half of the game with Smith’s completion pass to Malik Stanley for 40 yards.
Grambling State’s offense worked as a unit to secure their first touchdown as Hickbottom’s pass connected to Raylon Richardson for 23 yards followed by Garrett Urban’s PAT. With 5:07 left in the third, the score was now 20-7.
After a forced fumble by Connor Taylor on Keilon Elder in the red zone giving Louisiana Tech possession of the ball, the odds were not in favor of Grambling State.
Late in the fourth quarter the Tigers executed five plays with a gain of 27 yards. Hickbottom’s pass to Donald Johnson for 12 yards opened up an opportunity for Grambling State.
With back to back plays from Elder, Hickbottom and Jakarie Nichols, the Tigers were able to score their second touchdown, and with Urban’s PAT, the Tigers were only trailing by six, 20-14.
Inside the Numbers
> Grambling State finished with 32 first downs
> The Tigers amassed 455 yards on 91 plays
> Geremy Hickbottom finished the game with 239 yards on 26-of-40 passing
> Geremy Hickbottom rushed 13 times for 71 yards
> Raylon Richardson caught four passes for 63 yards
> Brendan Vaughn led the defense with 11 tackles
> Damien Crumitie registered seven tackles
> Louisiana Tech recorded 20 first downs
> The Bulldogs tallied 390 yards on 66 plays
> J’Mar Smith was 17-of-25 passing for 220 yards and one touchdown
> Israel Tucker led the Bulldogs in rushing yards with 71
> Griffin Hebert caught three passes for 68 yards
> Connor Taylor tallied 11 tackles
> Collin Scott added nine tackles
News & Notes
> Grambling State and Louisiana Tech’s first meeting came in 2010. Tech won 20-6 at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, La
> After today’s win for the Bulldogs, Louisiana Tech leads the series 2-0
> Today’s game was Grambling State’s first game versus Louisiana Tech under head coach Broderick Fobbs
> The two schools are separated by five miles
Grambling State will have an open week, followed by a trip to Montgomery, Ala. to begin Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) play against Alabama State. Kick-off from ASU Stadium on Saturday, Sep. 21 is set for 2:30 p.m.
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