NORMAL, Ala. (WHNT) – A 92-yard kickoff return dashed Alabama A&M’s comeback hopes as Grambling beat the Bulldogs 38-28 Saturday in the fifth annual Louis Crews Classic, Alabama A&M’s first home game this season.
The game was also Homecoming for A&M, drawing a crowd of 21,254 on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
The kickoff return by Martez Carter came after the Bulldogs scored on a 20-yard Harvey Harris touchdown run which cut the Grambling lead to 24-22 with 12:12 left in the game.
The Tigers, 3-0 Southwestern Athletic Conference and 3-3 overall, took a 7-0 lead about midway through the first quarter and the Bulldogs (1-2, 2-4) cut the margin to 7-3 on Cesar Diaz-Ramon’s 40-yard field goal with 2:50 left in the quarter.
Grambling ran the count to 10-3 early in the second quarter before the Bulldogs capitalized on a Tigers’ turnover with a Brandon Eldemire touchdown. However, the point-after try failed and Grambling held a 10-9 lead with 6:55 to go.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the final minutes of the half with Grambling quarterback Johnathan Williams’ 1-yard run for a 17-9 lead. The Bulldogs answered on the first of Harvey Harris’ two touchdowns to cut the lead to 17-16 with 3 minutes left. The Tigers, however, scored with just 40 seconds left in the half on Chester Rogers’ 13-yard pass from Williams for a 24-16 Grambling lead at the half.
A little over 2 minutes into the third quarter, Harris scored on a 20-yard run but the two-point conversion failed for a 24-22 score.
Then Carter took the ensuing kickoff to the endzone, taking the wind out of the Bulldog crowd.
Verlon Hunter scored on a 6-yard pass from Williams and the point-after gave the Tigers a 38-22 lead with 8:18 left in the game.
The Bulldogs wrapped up the scoring when quarterback Jaymason Lee connected with Montaurius Smith on a 25-yard TD pass with 1:36 to go for the final 38-28 score.
Grambling had 427 yards of offense, 291 yards in the air while the Bulldogs had 255 total yards.
Alabama A&M hosts Southern University next Saturday at 1 p.m. in the annual Hall of Fame game.
Courtesy Alabama A&M University Athletics