Page 8 - Friday, OctOber 28, 2011
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Grambling St. looks for win at UAPB o.k. Davis
The Ruston Daily Leader
GRAMBLING, La. — Suddenly, Grambling State University is back in business in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Well, almost. “We’ve won our last two games, but this season is far from over and there’s no need to start bringing out the black and gold pom-pons and start cheering,” said Tigers’ Head Coach Doug Williams. “There’s still a whole lot of work to be done and it all starts Saturday.” Grambling (3-4, 2-3) will have an important 2:30 p.m. test against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (4-3, 3-2) at the Golden Lions’ Stadium. It will mark the Tigers’ first road appearance in nearly a month after having dealt with an open date and then back-to-back home games, the latest being last week’s 30-24 overtime victory against Mississippi Valley. Saturday’s game looms significant in the SWAC chase. UAPB is in second place and GSU third for the Western Division. “Arkansas-Pine Bluff is very tough to play at their place,” Williams said. “They’ve got a good team, are wellcoached and have a lot to play for in terms of the conference race, too. I’d love to say that, with two straight wins, we are starting to turn things around after a slow start, but I can’t. Let’s just say it’s a better feeling to win a couple of games than to lose them and, hopefully, it can help us finish strong.” Grambling got its win against Valley in thrilling fashion. The two teams battled to a 24-24 score in regulation time before the Tigers won it in OT with a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback D.J. Williams to wide receiver Mario Louis. “We had actually called for a running
play, but D.J. audibled at the line of scrimmage and elected to go to Mario, who made a great leaping catch for the winning touchdown,” Doug Williams said. The younger Williams replaced junior Frank Rivers, who had started the gamed and went on to pass for 218 yards and two touchdowns. But going strictly on a “hunch,” Doug Williams chose to replace Rivers with D.J. Williams in the overtime period. “Joe Gibbs, my coach in Washington (Redskins), used to tell us about having a gut feeling on things,” Doug Williams said, “and my gut told me that D.J. was the one to use in the overtime. Frank had played very well and had certainly helped us get in a situation to get the win. Fortunately, everything turned out all right.” As far as who starts at quarterback against UAPB, that’s likely to be a gametime decision. “We’re just not sure yet and will have to see how everything goes,” Doug Williams said. “Whether it’s Frank or D.J., we feel comfortable with either one and both of them are capable of leading our offense.” Grambling’s inconsistent running game will have to face a strong Golden Lion’s defense that ranks No. 3 in the conference against that mode of attack. “’’That’s what they do best, stop the run,” Doug Williams said, “and that’s an area we haven’t been doing well with for most of the season. And another thing we’ve got to do is avoid turnovers.” The Golden Lions’ roster has been depleted with the suspension of 25 players by the SWAC for being involved in an altercation after a recent game in Pine Bluff against Southern University. Twelve of the Golden Lions won’t be suiting up against Grambling, based on staggered suspensions announced by league officials earlier this week.
yOung PlayerS from page 7 “It’s been hard work and staying hungry,” Johnson said. “It’s an opportunity I’ve been waiting on. I had a chance to show my talent against my team, but now it’s time to just let it all out on a different jersey.” Johnson said that a win Saturday would be the breakthrough Southern has anticipated following back-to-back conferences losses to Prairie View and the Golden Lions. “All these close games, it’s time for a breakthrough,” Johnson said. “We’re the underdogs on our homecoming, but I think we’re going to pull it off. This would be the great game for it.” Mitchell said that the SWACs’ decision to stagger suspension will put his team in position to make a difference in the outcome of games remaining. He added that Johnson’s shoes may need to be filled once starters return. “He’s from Baton Rouge, he’s going to play,” Mitchell said. “The question will be, will they be able to come back and fill the shoes that Larry wears.” Southern has been outscored 45-19 in the fourth quarter and has four losses of five points or less. Through eight games, Alcorn State ranks fourth in scoring offense (29.6) and average 120.7 rushing yards per game. Southern is allowing 4.4 yards per carry and 198 yards a game on the ground. Tennessee State’s Trabis Ward (141), Pine-Bluff’s Dennis Jenkins (111) and Justin Billings (101) (127) put up more than 100 yards against the Jaguars. Mississippi Valley’s Trey Bateaste had 86 yards. However, Mitchell’s defensive unit held Alabama A&M’s leading rusher Kaderius Lacey, who’s 544 rushing yards ranks third in the conference, to 21 yards on 11 carries. They allowed 60 rushing yards against the Bulldogs — the fewest in a game this season. “We left some points on the field against Pine Bluff,” offensive lineman Chris Browne said. We feel like we’re going to take all of our aggression out on Alcorn this week.”
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