Grambling beats Southern for SWAC title game berth
New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Clearly beating rival Southern, 36-12, felt oh so good to the Grambling State Tigers at the XXXVIII State Farm Bayou Classic on Saturday.
But something else felt even better.
Grambling State is headed back to the SWAC Championship Game for the first time since 2008 as the result of its fourth straight win against Southern.
The Tigers (7-4, 6-3 SWAC), who have overcome a 1-4 start with six straight victories, won the Western Division title. They will play Eastern Division winner Alabama A&M (8-3, 7-2) in the championship game Dec. 10 in Birmingham, Ala.
In beating Southern before 40,715 at the Louisiana Superdome, Grambling State broke a tie in the series, going in front 30-29 overall as well as 20-18 since the rivalry became the Bayou Classic.
Grambling State's D.J. Williams, the freshman son of Tigers head coach Doug Williams, completed 11-of-17 passes for 174 yards, including three touchdowns to Mario Louis.
Louis' final touchdown - a 12-yard connection - gave Grambling State a 24-12 lead with 2:22 left in the third quarter.
Dawrence Roberts rushed for 195 yards on 36 carries, including a 32-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
The Tigers defense, led by senior linebacker Cliff Exama, had seven sacks and two interceptions. Antonio Leonard had a safety to extend the lead to 26-12 with 10 seconds left in the third quarter.
Zoltan Riazzo opened the scoring with a 53-yard field goal with 2:55 left in the first quarter.
Southern's Dray Joseph and J.P. Douglas split time at quarterback and each threw a touchdown.
Doug Williams, in the first season of his second stint as Grambling State's head coach, won for just the second time in seven games against Southern.
Jaguars coach Stump Mitchell dropped to 0-2 against Grambling State. His squad finished the season with a 4-7 record, including 4-5 in the SWAC.
11/26 19:02:41 ET