|« Estes understands need to play it safe at Brown||UCD youth shines despite loss to Bobcats »|
Little things pile up on Grambling
Grambling State head football coach Doug Williams says little things can hurt a team no matter who it is playing.
When the team committing those minute miscues is a Football Championship Subdivision team playing against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, those mistakes are magnified.
GSU found that out over and over again Saturday night in the I-20 Classic where it fell 35-7 to ULM.
“We made a lot of mistakes and they took advantage of them,” Williams said. “Early, two interceptions, running into the kicker; every time we made a bonehead play, they took advantage of it.”
Even when Grambling (1-1) made a mistake that did not show in the final stats, ULM capitalized — never more so than in a four-play sequence late in the second quarter.
With his team leading 21-7, ULM hawk safety Darius Prelow, a former Southwood standout, picked off D.J. Williams’ third-down pass and returned it 20 yards to the Grambling 45.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, ULM quarterback Kolton Browning overshot Brent Leonard down the middle of the field, hitting Grambling safety Bruna Foster in the chest.
Foster could not handle Browning’s pass, however, and it fell harmlessly to the Malone Stadium turf. Two plays later, with the Warhawks facing a third-and-20, Centarius Donald took a delayed handoff and creased the GSU defense for a back-breaking 55-yard touchdown run and a 28-7 halftime lead.
“(Saturday night) gives us something to let them know what we’ve been talking about all during the week,” Williams said. “It’s the little things.”
Some of the little things led to big holes quickly.
D.J. Williams failed to duplicate the efficiency and ball security he showed in GSU’s opening-week victory over Alcorn. His completion percentage slipped from 66.7 against Alcorn to just 47.6 percent Saturday night and his yardage fell from 161 to 118.
More pertinently, Williams tossed the first two interceptions of his career — both of which led to ULM touchdowns. The first score was much easier than the second as Khairi Usher returned the interception 32 yards to the GSU 3.
Three plays later, Cody Wells turned a beautiful play-action fake into a 1-yard touchdown pass to Keavon Milton and a 14-7 lead the Warhawks never came close to relinquishing.
That touchdown was the second one that came courtesy of a short field. A bad punt snap led to a blocked punt on GSU’s second series and ULM cashed in on another three-play drive as Kolton Browning hit Tavarese Maye for a 7-yard score.
The short fields were no excuse for the GSU defense, according to linebacker Cliff Exama, who led GSU with 14 tackles. Neither were the 85 plays or the 34:56 the Tigers’ defense spent on the field.
“When you play these teams, you have to be mistake-free,” Exama said. “You make mistakes, you kill yourself. We don’t blame it on anybody but ourselves. We should have just held it down on defense. We don’t take it upon the offense or nothing. It’s just us as a defense. Even if we went a thousand plays, we’re supposed to hold it down no matter what.”
By Jason Pugh, Shreveport Times