For the first time this season, the Grambling football team is reacting to a conference loss.

The Tigers won their first seven Southwestern Athletic Conference games before Alabama State came in and upset them 37-23 on Saturday.

Grambling coach Broderick Fobbs said Monday that “there were a lot of tears and some shock” in the locker room after the game, but he wasn’t one of the ones shocked.

“We ate a piece of humble pie,” he said during the SWAC coaches weekly teleconference Monday. “That was something we needed.

“Sometimes you have to be taught a lesson, and Alabama State did a real good job of teaching us that lesson. You never want to lose, but if you’re going to lose, it’s better to lose when it really has no effect on the outcome of the season.”

The SWAC West Division title will go to the winner of the Southern-Grambling game in the Bayou Classic on Nov. 29 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Both teams are 7-1 in the league and have open dates this week to start preparing.

“We plan on going back to the drawing board,” Fobbs said. “We have to get back to doing things the way we know we’re capable of doing them.

“The last three or four games, we’ve been battling some complacency. We had been fortunate to dodge a bullet in two or three games.”

The Tigers opened an early 13-0 lead against Alabama State, but the Hornets came back to grab a 21-16 halftime edge and never trailed in the second half.

“We started off well because of some mistakes they made early,” Fobbs said. “We could have done a better job of playing with a lot more energy, but all in all we just didn’t play as well. Alabama State really came to play.

“They really got after us on both side of the ball. It was an old fashioned butt whipping.”

Focus on fundamentals

Southern, which returns to practice Tuesday, has won its last six games, including a 44-13 rout of Mississippi Valley State on Saturday in A.W. Mumford Stadium.

“We’re going to focus on the fundamentals and get back to the basics of football,” coach Dawson Odums said. “We’re going to work on blocking and tackling. We want to focus on us because we feel like of we do things we’re supposed to do, everything else will take care of itself.

“Also, having (an open date) this late in the season gives us a chance to look at some of our young guys.”

Joseph in Southern’s prayers

Odums said he told former Jaguars quarterback Dray Joseph, who is a volunteer coach on this year’s team, to take as much time as he needs to be with his family after the death of Joseph’s brother early Sunday.

Juan Joseph, 27, who was the quarterbacks coach at West St. John High, was shot to death outside a Baton Rouge club.

“I told him we were sending him our prayers,” Odums said. “I told him to take as much time as he needed and, if you need us, we’ll be here for you.”

On the road again

The Blue & Gold Club is offering a bus trip to the Bayou Classic. Tickets cost $40 for those with a game ticket and $80 to purchase a game ticket and ride the bus. Refreshments will be served, and the bus will return immediately after the game. Kickoff is 1:30 p.m. Nov. 29.

The the Blue & Gold club is also planning a bus trip to Houston for the SWAC Championship Game on Dec. 6. For more information, contact Craig Pierre at 225-324-7234 or Robert Square at 225-931-4052.

Follow Les East on Twitter @EastAdvocate