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Tiger Bowl, Pt. 1: Grambling State Preview

An inside look at Grambling’s program.

Syndication: The Clarion-Ledger Barbara Gauntt/Clarion Ledger / USA TODAY NETWORK

LSU and Grambling will meet for the first time in a historic matchup.

Like LSU, Grambling is coming off a season-opening loss at a neutral stadium. The Tigers lost to fellow HBCU program Hampton at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey in a nailbiting 35-31 loss.

Grambling’s program has 26 conference titles, 16 black national championships, six College Football Hall of Famers, four Pro Football Hall of Famers and an FCS semifinal appearance in 1980.

They were also coached by the legendary Eddie Robinson for over six decades from 1945 to 1997. Robinson is second behind all-time wins at any level with 408 wins.

Although LSU should win big, let’s take a look at Grambling’s team.


Grambling’s offense was its Achilles’ heel from all facets of this side of the ball. Although it rushed for a decent 151.5 yards per game, its pass offense was downright atrocious. The Tigers averaged 148.82 yards through the air which was good for being 110th out of 123 teams in that category at the FCS level.

Another issue the offense had was turnovers and penalties. Grambling was 94th in turnovers and T-101st in fumbles lost while they also were sixth in the most penalty yards per game.

Although last year’s starting quarterback Julian Calvez returns, it looks like Alabama State transfer Myles Crowley may land the job.

Although last year’s leading rusher Maurice Washington departed, the run game returns Floyd Chalk IV and Chance Williams. Chalk averaged 6.0 yards per carry while rushing for 396 yards and one touchdown as the No.2 back last season. Williams rushed for 239 yards with two touchdowns.

The passing game will return Second Team Preseason All-SWAC wide receiver Lyndon Rash. Rash caught 23 receptions for 517 yards and five touchdowns last season.


Grambling’s defense had the 67th-ranked defense in all of FCS. Although they allowed 33 points a game along with 190 rushing yards per game, the defense was given no favors considering that Grambling’s offense never stayed on the field too long given their troubles as well as being turnover-prone.

The defense returns two First-Team All-SWAC players defensive lineman Sundiata Anderson and linebacker Lewis Matthews.

Anderson had 50 tackles (12.5 for a loss), seven sacks and two forced fumbles last season while Matthews tallied 103 tackles (12.0 for a loss) and two sacks.

In the secondary, the Tigers return Second-Team All-SWAC defensive back Kevin Thomas. Thomas recorded 52 tackles (1.0 for a loss) and one interception last season.

Special Teams

Senior punter Jimmy Iles returns to handle the punting duties. Iles averaged 40.63 yards per punt and landed eight punts inside the 20-yard line.