Tigers turn to true freshman at QB

By T. Scott Boatright

GRAMBLING — The Grambling State University football team is turning to its “young gun.”

Looking to spark an offense that has been sluggish at best through the opening four games, the Grambling State Tigers will start true freshman Noah Bodden at quarterback this weekend.

The G-Men (1-3 and 0-1 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference) will play host to Alabama A&M, the top-ranked team in Black College Football, at 2 p.m. Saturday at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium.

GSU head coach Broderick Fobbs said the decision to make the starting signal-caller chance wasn’t difficult.

“It begins and ends with our quarterback position,” Fobbs said. “ We haven’t played well at that position the last three or four years. We feel that we have a kid that has the opportunity to be a really good quarterback for us. You know that’s one position that you just can’t hide.”

Bodden, a 6-4, 218-pound freshman, connected on 3-of-11 passes for 24 yards in the Tigers’ 24-10 loss to Prairie View A&M.

Previous GSU starter Elijah Walker hit on 11-of-23 attempts for 111 yards with one interception for GSU against the Panthers.

“We just didn’t feel like that (Walker) was giving us the spark that we needed,” Fobbs said of turning to Bodden last week. “Elijah has had an opportunity from last season through the first two or three weeks this season, as well. We feel like it’s been a struggle right now. We feel (Bodden) is the most confident thrower that we have. You saw it, and he came in, and he went right to it.”

Fobbs feels the change is necessary for an GSU offense averaging only 112 yards per game so far, 266.7 yards fewer than the 409.0 allowed by the Alabama A&M defense.

He also hopes sophomore running back CJ Russell, a product of Arcadia High School, can help Bodden pick up the pace for Grambling’s offense.

The Bulldogs have allowed opposing rushing attacks to average 192.0 yards per game in 2021 compared to the 81.7 yards the Tigers offense has averaged on the ground per contest.

“CJ has tremendous upside,” Fobbs said. “He’s learning the position more each day … he’s one of our feature players. We want to make sure we get him the ball.

There is a history between the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M and the G-Men. Grambling won three Southwestern Athletic Conference title games over Alabama A&M from 2000-2005.

Photo: GSU Athletics

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