Oliver The Catalyst For Jackson State's SWAC Title

Jackson State won its 16th SWAC football championship

Dec. 15, 2007

By Eric N. Moore

Special to CSTV.com


Eric Moore

Eric contributes a twice-weekly HBCU column for CSTV.com.
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Jimmy Oliver threw three touchdown passes to lead Jackson State to a 42-31 come-from-behind victory over Grambling State in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game Saturday at Legion Field.


The victory gave Jackson State its 16th SWAC football championship and its first since 1996.




Grambling, which had been 4-0 in SWAC title games, took a 7-0 lead on its first possession on a 1-yard touchdown run by Frank Warren. But GSU failed to make it back to the end zone in the first half, while Jackson State scored four touchdowns to build a 28-12 halftime lead.


Grambling opened the second half scoring 16 points in 32 seconds to tie the score at 28-28. QB Brandon Landers threw for two touchdown passes and a pair of two-point conversions. A 26-yard field goal by Tim Manual at 1:31 gave the G-Men a 31-28 lead going into the final period.


JSU scored on their first possession of the fourth quarter when Oliver, in the grasp of a Grambling tackler, found Terrance Jones for a 15-yard touchdown to complete a seven-play, 74-yard drive and give the Blue Tigers a 35-31 lead.


JSU's final score came when Lavarus Giles broke away from three defenders near the line of scrimmage and raced 54 yards for a touchdown with 11:45 remaining.


Oliver completed 16-of-30 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns, while Giles rushed 23 times for 117 yards and two TDs.


For the game, Landers completed 18-of-38 passes for 229 yards. But he also threw three interceptions, one of which was returned 35 yards for a touchdown by Domonique Johnson.


Clyde Edwards closed out his successful career at Grambling State with seven receptions for 72 yards.  Edwards, who already became GSU's all-time touchdown leader among receivers in October, became GSU's all-time leader in receiving yards in the first half and receptions in the second half.


Defensively, Jackson State's Marcellus Speaks finished with eight tackles, an interception and a pass breakup; Marcus Jamison had seven tackles in the game.   For Grambling State, DeMichael Dizer, Keefe Hall and Zaire Wilborn each had seven stops in the game.


It was the third consecutive loss for Grambling, which had defeated Jackson State, 30-20, during the regular season.