Written by Thomas Scott
September 13, 2017
On Saturday, Jackson State will play their first game at Grambling State since 2012. The rivalry between these teams came to a screeching halt during the 2013 season. In 2013, the G-Men gained national attention when the team boycotted their game against Jackson State due to poor facility conditions and the treatment of former Coach, Doug Williams. The matchup between these teams resumed a year later, but was always held at a neutral site.
The importance of Saturday’s game cannot be understated. Due to a change in the SWAC Conference format, Grambling State and Jackson State were not scheduled to play this year. SWAC teams now play a seven game conference schedule instead of the old round robin format. In order to make this game a possibility, both school sacrificed scheduling a non-conference opponent. This game will not count toward the SWAC standings, however it will count for pride. Grambling State Coach Dobbs shared his thoughts on the matchup with The News Star :
“It’s a game in my opinion that should always be played. It’s something the two institutions will have to work out because those years like this year when it’s not considered a conference (game), you still need to keep that game on the schedule because it’s so good for both communities and institutions.”
The G-Men come into this contest winners of their last three games against Jackson State. In fact, the Grambling State Tigers are undefeated against Jackson State under Coach Fobbs. In order to win, the G-Men must involve running back Martez Carter early and often. Last week, Carter racked up 206 total yards in Grambling’s 23-10 win over Northwestern State. For his efforts Carter was named SWAC Player of the Week.
Jackson State desperately needs a win. The Tigers have lost their last six games dating back to last season. Despite their record, a win seems on the horizon. The Tigers lost three of the last five games by a touchdown or less. Last week, they nearly pulled an upset over #24 ranked Tennessee State but barely missed the game winning field goal attempt. To win on Saturday, the Tigers will need a huge performance from the SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, Keontre Anderson. In 2016, Anderson led the nation in tackles for loss and had nine sacks. The Tigers offense must improve in the red zone, where quarterback Brett Lyles threw two interceptions last week.
What To Watch For
Don’t let Jackson State’s record fool you. Rivalry games are usually close and this will be no exception. Jackson State has the defensive talent to slow the powerful Grambling State offense. Last year, they held Martez Carter to just 26 yards. I expect this game to go down to the wire and ultimately be determined by special teams play and the turnover battle. Coverage of the game will begin September 16th at 7pm on ESPN 3.