Saturday, December 17, 2016
ATLANTA, Georgia -- First, Quentin Atkinson did the spectacular.
Then he did the unthinkable.
North Carolina Central’s senior wide receiver made one of the best catches of the game, drifting in the end zone before falling to his knees and hauling in a 39-yard pass from Malcolm Bell late in the fourth quarter. Only then he went to celebrate, snatched off his helmet and drew a flag. A few moments later, the long extra point was blocked and the comeback fell short as Grambling State survived the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, 10-9, winning the HBCU national championship in the process.
The irony of it all, losing the Celebration Bowl because of an excessive celebration.
It didn’t matter that North Carolina Central kept reigning SWAC Offensive Player of the Year Devante Kincade in check.
It didn’t matter that North Carolina Central held an offense that ranked in the top five of the FCS and averaged 41 points per game to one field goal and one touchdown.