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EDDIE ROBINSON COUNTDOWN // Grambling makes it two to go for coach

While Grambling State coach Eddie Robinson resumed his chase of the 400-victory mark, Alcorn State began life without Steve McNair on Saturday.

And while Robinson did something no other college coach has done _ won his 398th game _ McNair's replacement did what the NCAA's career leader in total offense never did _ lose at Spinks Stadium.

Jerry Fletcher completed 26 of 50 passes for 295 yards and a touchdown in his first game as McNair's replacement. But the Braves lost 39-17 to the Tigers, the team with which they shared the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship last year.

Broderick Fobbs ran for two first-quarter touchdowns and Kendrick Nord threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Nicholls as Grambling built a 19-0 lead.

Just before the half, Alcorn scored on a 9-yard run by freshman Rodney Thomas and a 22-yard field goal by David Jakana to put the halftime score at 19-10. The second half was all Grambling as the Tigers pushed it to 25-10.

Fletcher was completed 4-of-6 on the Alcorn's last scoring drive, including a 19-yard TD to Percy Singleton that cut the lead to 25-17 in the third quarter. But Grambling's Brian Livingston returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.

Nord, the preseason All-SWAC quarterback with McNair gone, completed just 9 of 24 passes for 126 yards. But he scored on a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Alcorn had won 13 straight games at Spinks Stadium, which opened in 1992. McNair, the No. 3 pick of the Houston Oilers last April, never lost in the stadium and had 16,823 total yards.

Up next: September 16, Grambling State vs. Hampton University