By T. Scott Boatright
It’s about to get real in “The Hole,” otherwise known as Eddie G. Robinson Stadium on the campus of Grambling State University.
The season gets serious as Grambling opens Southwestern Athletic Conference play at 2 p.m. today by playing host to Texas Southern.
The G-Men stand at 1-2 on the season and will be looking for a second straight win for only the second time in the Hue Jackson era.
Last year, in his first year as head coach at GSU, Jackson led Grambling to back-to-back wins only once, defeating Alcorn State 35-6 before downing Arkansas-Pine Bluff 36-10 with both games being played in at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium.
Texas Southern defeated Grambling 41-7 last year in Houston.
Grambling is coming off a 58-20 home win over Florida Memorial, but Jackson knows his team will be tested against Texas Southern, which enters the game at 0-3 after falling last week 59-7 at Rice.
After falling to Prairie View 39-37 to open the season, TSU has lost its past two games by a combined score of 130-10 after falling 71-3 at Toledo in Week 2.
One big question for Grambling heading into the contest will be who will get the start at quarterback for TSU on Saturday.
Andrew Body started the season opener against Prairie View, completing 18-of-38 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions while adding 64 yards on 10 carries.
But Body was apparently injured late in the game against Prairie View, giving way to Jace Wilson, who has thrown for a combined 196 yards and one touchdown on 39 passing attempts in starts over the past two games.
“We’re waiting to hear what the doctors are going to allow him to do,” said TSU coach Ted McKinney about the possibility of Body returning to the gridiron against Grambling during a SWAC weekly video conference. “It’s going to be a gametime decision. “We’re going to do what we do offensively. We have confidence in both Andrew and Jace. Our scheme is our scheme. We recruited those guys to play in our system.”
Whoever gets the start at quarterback for TSU against Grambling will likely be targeting Jyrin Johnson, who hauled in four passes for 49 yards and Texas Southern’s lone score against Toledo.
There’s no question who will get the start under center for Grambing against Texas Southern. Myles Crawley has thrown for six touchdowns with only one interception this season for the G-Men and is averaging 224.3 passing yards per game.
Grambling features a two-headed rushing attack in sophomores Chance Williams and Floyd Chalk IV.
Williams leads GSU with 187 yards and a score on 25 carries while Chalk has added 111 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 29 attempts.
Crawley will likely continue to spread the ball around after tossing touchdowns to six different receivers this season. Antonio Jones leads the G-Men with 14 catches for 162 yards but has yet to haul in a score this season.
Jackson will be looking for more from his defense, which had trouble at times slowing Florida Memorial’s rushing attack last week and is giving up 271.3 yards on the ground per game so far this season.
The head G-Man is also looking for more out of his “12th Man” in Grambling’s second home game of the season.
“We need everybody to be here against Texas Southern,” Jackson said. “We went to Houston last year and they beat Us. Now they’re a good team coming here this weekend. We need more fans in the stands. We need more people screaming and yelling and making sure they root us on to victory.”