They'll face North Carolina A&T in Atlanta The Grambling program is back on top after winning the 2016 HBCU National Championship.
A year ago, Grambling took home a 10-9 victory against North Carolina Central to win this bowl game, gaining a bit of momentum they've carried into 2017 throughout the course of the year. Grambling State, coming out of winning the SWAC, will seek to continue a strong run; while North Carolina A&T, MEAC champions, will continue the pursuit of respect on a national level. He was successful during that stretch with a 35-12 record and a SWAC Championship in 2008.
The Aggies are exceptionally good on both sides of the ball, as they were able to capture 12 of 25 spots on the MEAC all conference first teams. Since then, Grambling has played twice, beating Southern in the Bayou Classic on November 25 and Alcorn State in the final SWAC Championship Game on December 2. He also rushed for 93 yards on 16 attempts.
Grambling State: The Tigers are back despite failing in their bid for consecutive HBCU national title. A score that series would've given the G-Men their first lead of the game. He and cornerback Franklin "Mac" McCain have split 10 interceptions, combining for 407 return yards and four touchdowns. He went 19-for-36 passing for 225 yards and threw for both of GSU's scores.
North Carolina A&T State drove 46 yards in six plays as Ruiz's 38-yarder was blocked by Anfernee Mullins to send the two teams into the break tied at 7. Not only do the Tigers have playmakers on the offensive side of the ball but they also have studs on the defensive side, like star linebacker and the 2017 SWAC Defensive Player of the Year De'Arius Christmas.
GSU's defense battled being on the field for much of the game, NC A&T had the ball for more then 35 minutes and ran 80 plays.
N.C. A&T (12-0) claimed titles in 1990 and 1999 in addition to 2015, when the Aggies defeated Alcorn State 41-34 in the first Celebration Bowl.
On the first play, Raynard dumped a pass over the middle to running back Marquell Cartwright, who dropped the ball as he turned upfield.
Grambling was trying for a second straight HBCU national title as the Tigers edged North Carolina Central 10-9 a year ago.
But the Tigers offense could only gain three yards, they had just 49 yards all fourth quarter, and had to punt it away as the Aggies started at their 44 with 1:42 left.
The 2017 Celebration Bowl kicks off the college football bowl season on Saturday Dec. 16.
Raynard drove the Aggies 56 yards in seven plays for the winning touchdown, shaking off almost throwing his third interception.
All of that time the Aggies have had to anticipate the matchup is part of Grambling's advantage.