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Grambling State-Alabama A&M rematch appears tight

The Sports Network

By Sean Shapiro, FCS Assistant

DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 10, 1 p.m. ET.

FACTS & STATS: Event: SWAC Championship. Annual: 13th. Site: Legion Field (72,000) -- Birmingham, Alabama. Surface: Artificial Turf. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Grambling State 3-1; Alabama A&M 4-1. Away Record: Grambling State 2-2; Alabama A&M 3-1. Neutral Record: Grambling State 2-1; Alabama A&M 1-1. Current Win/Loss Streak: Grambling State 6W; Alabama A&M 1W. Series Record: Grambling State (16-5). Last Meeting: September 24, 2011 (Alabama A&M, 20-14 at Grambling State). Series Streak: Grambling State has won four of the last five meetings. Nicknames: Grambling State Tigers; Alabama A&M Bulldogs. Sheridan Broadcasting Network Poll Rankings: Grambling State (8); Alabama A&M (6). Heritage Sports Radio Network Poll Rankings: Grambling State (9); Alabama A&M (3). Sports Network/Fathead.com Rankings: Grambling State (47); Alabama A&M (46). All-Time Records: Grambling State (521-213-15); Alabama A&M (387-359-31). Coaches: Grambling State - Doug Williams (8th year, 59-22 at Grambling State, 62-30 Overall); Alabama A&M - Anthony Jones (10th year, 72-44 at Alabama A&M, 90-57 Overall). Preview SWAC Championship appearances: Grambling State 6 (2000-02, 2005, 2007-08); Alabama A&M 5 (2000, 2002, 2005-06, 2009). SWAC Championship Record: Grambling State (5-1); Alabama A&M (1-4). 2010 SWAC Championship Result: Texas Southern 11, Alabama State 6.

GAME NOTES: In the 13-year history of the SWAC championship game, Grambling State-Alabama A&M has been the most played match-up. Meeting for the fourth time for the Eddie Robinson Trophy, Grambling State has won the prior three match-ups for the award named after its legendary coach.

Grambling State has been on a roll after a 1-4 start, winning six straight including a regular-season finale win against Southern in the Bayou Classic, 36-12. During that streak, the Tigers' offense has been clicking, averaging 32 points a game and running a balanced attack. Dawrence Roberts (115.4 ypg) is the focal point of the Tigers' attack, rushing for five touchdowns in the past four games.

Roberts will face a stout Alabama A&M rush defense (111.7 ypg), and the defensive line is anchored by Corey Hart. He leads the nation with 27 tackles for loss and has registered 14 sacks.

While Hart is the centerpiece of Alabama A&M's defense, Grambling State linebacker Cliff Exama recently earned co-SWAC defensive player of the year honors. Exama led the SWAC in tackles this season (122) and added a presence in pass coverage, registering three pass breakups and an interception.

With the advantage leaning towards the defense, Alabama A&M is hoping to improve its struggling offense, which has scored a combined 23 points in its last two games. Needing a win to even qualify for the SWAC title game, the Bulldogs defeated Prairie View A&M, 17-15, in a low-scoring affair.

These two teams met in Week 4, with Alabama A&M picking up its first ever win at Grambling State, 20-14. The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, and held on thanks to a 178-yard, two-touchdown performance from running back Kaderius Lacey. Lacey (96.1 ypg) rushed for 100-plus yards in five games this season, including four 150-plus yard performances.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Grambling 17, Alabama A&M 16

12/07 11:35:10 ET