Sunday, March 11, 2007

The time that Bruce passed Doug

Grambling 50, Prairie View 7
Oct. 6, 2005

By Nick Deriso
DALLAS - Needing six touchdown passes to pass Doug Williams' career mark at Grambling, senior quarterback Bruce Eugene threw seven.

Grambling State would extend an 18-game winning streak over Prairie View, winning 50-7 at the Cotton Bowl.

"I've thought about it," Eugene said of the record. "It was a good to get it, though it would have been even better to get it at home."

Eugene, who also set school records for passes and yards in a game, had scoring throws in every quarter against Prairie View.

He hit Moses Harris and Clyde Edwards for a pair of 6-yard touchdowns in the first period.
A 56-yard catch and run by George Piggott as the last period began tied Williams' TD mark. Henry Tolbert had TD receptions in the second and fourth periods - and the second one broke the record.

Another Edwards touchdown reception, this one for 74 yards, finished the scoring. That came in the fourth quarter, long after the game was decided - something Panthers coach Henry Frazier called "classless."

The truth is, even a bad throw by Eugene, like a third-period attempt that sailed over the wrong shoulder, was still pulled in for a two-yard touchdown by Terrion Rodgers.Eugene might have had at least two more touchdown throws, but Prairie View's defense stiffened and forced two fumbles.

"The past couple of years, they had a young team," said GSU senior middle linebacke Dimitri Carr. "They would come out amped, then cool down. They are older now and can sustain it."

GSU nearly shut out Prairie View in the first half, but turned the ball over on downs at its own 4 after a Tim Manuel punt was blocked with just over a minute left. Sophomore Panthers rusher Arnell Fontenot scored on the next play.

Eugene stuck a dagger in the Panthers - engineering a 67-yard drive in thhe hurry-up offense so that kicker Shawn Millson could add a 44-yard kick as the first-half buzzer sounded.

The Tigers are now 2-1, and 2-0 in conference play. The Panthers fell to 1-2 and 0-2.

Bruce Eugene tossed three touchdowns before Prairie View scored, and GSU never trailed.

Senior receiver George Piggott became entangled with a Prairie View defender as he went up for a first-quarter Bruce Eugene pass. The ball bounced off his shoulder pad, but Piggott pulled it in for a 39-yard completion. Two plays later, GSU scored its first touchdown of the night.

Junior GSU rusher Terrion Rodgers, with one guy to beat on a run from the Prairie View 9-yard line, had the ball stripped. He and fumbled at the 4 on GSU's first drive - preventing a quick score early in the day.

Grambling put two consecutive crushing blows on Prairie View quarterback Michael Hill as the second quarter began. First, Jena senior defensive end Jason Hatcher sacked him, then Farmerville senior linebacker Dimitri Carr stopped him short of of a first down on a keeper play - forcing a punt.

First-year kicker Shawn Millson missed his second and third extra-point tries of the season, after making seven in a row, then saw a 48-yard field-goal attempt hit both poles - all in the second half. He was replaced for kickoffs and then the final extra point of the game by punter Tim Manuel.

The football team has added the initials “RM” on the right side of the back of their helmets, in honor of beloved longtime trainer Ricky McCall, who recently lost a long battle with cancer.

Grambling saw one of its most aggressive players hop off the field when fullback Ruben Mayes was injured early in the second period. He had been turned around on a running play, and appeared to twist a knee before fumbling. Mayes couldn't put any weight on his left foot as trainers helped him off the field.

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Unhappy returns: Heishma Northern, a seven-year assistant at Grambling through the 2004 season, made his first appearance on the other sideline as Prairie View's defensive coordinator.

While his group was stout against the run, allowing just 51 total yards, the Panthers' defense was gashed for seven touchdowns by senior GSU quarterback Bruce Eugene. Three separate Grambling receivers had 100-yard days.

Hired by former coach Doug Williams while he was still at Morehouse College, Northern followed Williams to Grambling to oversee GSU running backs and then defensive backs. He also served one season as interim defensive coordinator.

"He's been on both sides of the ball," said GSU coach Melvin Spears, who took over for Williams and kept Northern on for one more year. "He's a very smart guy who knows our system - but it boils down to players."

Who's that guy?: Over the past few seasons, Grambling has seen third- and fourth-option receivers have big nights against Prairie View - including Chris Day in 2003 and Paul Hardiman in 2004.

This year, it was George Piggott - who, like Day and Hardiman before him, put up career numbers against the Panthers.

“I think at any time any of our guys can break out and have a great day. It depends on what the coverage is,” said Spears. “It is all dictated on what the defense is going to do. Our quarterback makes those reads based on what he is given.”

Piggott finished with 148 yards and a touchdown on just six catches. His longest reception, for 56 yards, was for the score.

Tiger bites: This is the first time since 2002 that these two teams played consecutive State Fair Classic games with the same head coach. ... GSU defensive coordinator Luther Palmer, a former player at Virginia Union and then in the defunct World Football League, had his knee cleaned out over the bye. He had it wrapped all week in practice. ... Attendance was just 27,949 - high for other programs in northeastern Louisiana but far below last season's 61,000 mark against Prairie View.

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