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The 2016 Celebration Bowl (officially known as the 2016 Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl) was a post-season American college football bowl game played on December 17, 2016, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The second Celebration Bowl game matched the champion of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, against the champion of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, the two historically black division I conferences.

2016 Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl
2nd Celebration Bowl
1234 Total
North Carolina Central 3006 9
Grambling State 00100 10
DateDecember 17, 2016
StadiumGeorgia Dome
LocationAtlanta, Georgia
MVPOffense: #4 TE Martez Carter, Grambling
Defense: #33 DB Jameel Jackson, Grambling
RefereeMarvel July (Mtn. West)[1]
PayoutUS$1,000,000 (Per Conference)
United States TV coverage
RedVoice, LLC
AnnouncersMark Neely, Jay Walker, & Tiffany Greene (ABC)
Sam Crenshaw, Hugh Douglas, & Lericia Harris (RedVoice)
Nielsen ratings1.83 (Viewers) [2]
Celebration Bowl
 < 2015  2017



The participants for the Celebration Bowl game are based upon the final regular season standings which determine the MEAC football champion and the SWAC football championship Game determining the SWAC representative.

North Carolina CentralEdit

North Carolina Central entered the season ranked 4th in both the Sheridan & BoxtoRow polls and picked to finish 3rd overall in the MEAC. The Eagles started their season with back to back losses to FBS opponents Duke and Western Michigan. The Eagles rebounded to win 9 straight, defeating state rival North Carolina A&T in the final MEAC regular season game. The Eagles entered the Celebration Bowl ranked #18 in the FCS.


Grambling started the season ranked 5th in national black college football polls and picked 2nd in the SWAC Western division. The Tigers began the season defeating Virginia-Lynchburg and going up 21–0 before watching FBS opponent Arizona rally to defeat them. Grambling rolled after that with 10 straight wins. The Tigers enter the Celebration Bowl ranked #14.

Game summaryEdit

Scoring summaryEdit


Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP NCCU Grambling
1 6:05 13 74 6:40 NCCU 23-yard field goal by Brandon McLaren 3 0
3 9:14 8 70 3:35 Grambling Martez Carter 32-yard touchdown run, Jonathan Wallace kick good 3 7
3 2:50 4 16 2:11 Grambling 26-yard field goal by Jonathan Wallace 3 10
4 2:14 5 59 1:49 NCCU Quentin Atkinson 39-yard touchdown reception from Malcolm Bell, Haiden McCraney kick blocked 9 10
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 9 10


Statistics[1] NCCU Grambling
First Downs 14 21
Total offense, plays – yards 62–301 75–345
Rushes-yards (net) 29–55 (1.9) 44–196 (4.5)
Passing yards (net) 246 149
Passes, Comp-Att-Int 19–33–2 15–31–1
Time of Possession 27:21 32:29


  1. ^ a b c d "2016 Celebration Bowl Game Stats". Stat Broadcast. Stat Broadcast. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  2. ^