BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Greg Dillon threw three touchdowns and rushed for another score as Grambling State defeated Jackson State 41-9 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game on Saturday.
Dillon was 12-of-17 passing for 137 yards and one interception.
The Grambling State quarterback connected with Kiare Thompson for a 5-yard touchdown pass midway through the opening quarter, and then lofted a 39-yarder to Dante Cheek with 1:39 remaining in the first to give his team a 13-0 lead that held up until halftime.
That proved to be enough for the Grambling State (11-2, 7-0) defense, which forced five Jackson State (7-5, 6-1) turnovers.
"We controlled the game basically from start to finish and really never let them into it," Grambling coach Rod Broadway said.
"In some ways, it was a good old-fashioned butt kicking," Jackson State coach Rick Comegy said.
The victory was the 10th in-a-row for Grambling State, and clinched their fifth SWAC title in the past nine years. Jackson State defeated Grambling State in last year's championship game.
A Grambling State fumble early in the third quarter set up a 42-yard Eric Perri field goal that made the score 13-3. But David Stuckman returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown and a 20-3 Grambling State lead.
"The turning point of the game was that kickoff return," Comegy said. "It just seemed to take the air out of us. We just couldn't regain the emotion that we had and come back and make a game out of it."
Grambling State got the ball back moments later on an interception by T.J. McCord, setting up a 7-yard touchdown pass from Dillon to Thompson that extended the lead to 27-3.
Dillon was named the offensive most valuable player despite compiling modest passing stats, but Broadway said the quarterback set the tone for the game in the first quarter, when he went 5-for-5 passing for 75 yards and two touchdowns.
"Greg sparked us," Broadway said. "Once he started playing well, the whole team started playing well."
A fumbled snap off a punt by Jackson State late in the third quarter gave Grambling the ball at the 18-yard line and led to a 1-yard touchdown run from Dillon, giving Grambling State a 34-9 lead. Kenneth Anio Jr. closed out the scoring with an 85-yard interception return with 3:09 to play.