HOUSTON (AP) - For the second-straight year Alcorn State lifted the Southwestern Athletic Conference Football Championship Trophy at NRG Stadium after beating Grambling State 49-21 on Saturday.
The Braves (9-3) become the first team since 2002 to repeat as SWAC champions and joined Grambling State as the only program to accomplish the feat. It marks the 11th league title for Alcorn State.
Alcorn State leaned on its rushing attack as Darryan Ragsdale rushed for a championship game record 191 yards on 16 carries.
The Braves finished with 410 yards rushing as Ragsdale, Lenorris Footman and Marquis Warford all finished with more than 100 rushing yards. Footman finished with 19 carries for 123 yards and a score, while Warford had eight carries for 123 yards and a score.
Overall Alcorn State racked up 613 yards of offense, breaking the previous record, 583 yards, set by Grambling State in 2005.
The loss marked just the second time Grambling State (9-3) has fallen in the title game.
Tigers quarterback Johnathan Williams kept Grambling State within striking distance, completing 18-for-36 for 207 yards and a touchdown, but also threw three interceptions. He also rushed for 51 yards on 15 carries.
Chad Williams led Grambling State in receiving with five grabs for 64 yards.
Defensively, Alcorn State's Warren Gatewood excelled with three interceptions, returning one for a 24-yard touchdown.
After a slow start the Braves scored 14 points in a span of 2:28 on an 84-yard run by Ragsdale to set a championship game record for the longest run from scrimmage, and a pick-six by Gatewood.
Grambling stayed close with touchdowns on its next two possessions, Williams scored from 14 yards out, then hit Verlan Hunter for a 24-yard score to make it 21-14 with 9:14 left in the first half.
Alcorn State's defense clamped down the rest of the way. Grambling State managed just one score, but it came with 7:53 left in the game.
Meanwhile the Braves scored three more times in the second half.
Footman scored on a nine-yard run with 2:41 left in the third, then found Corbin Johnson from the 5 with 10 minutes left in the game.
Warford capped the day for Alcorn State with a 37-yard run that set the final score.
Alcorn State will represent the SWAC in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl on Dec. 19, taking on North Carolina A&T out of the Mid-Eastern Atlantic Conference.
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