200068178-001Alcorn State denied Alabama A&M an opportunity to take a strangle hold on the SWAC East Division race with a 21-20 upset of the previously unbeaten Bulldogs on their Homecoming in Huntsville, Ala., Saturday.

Alcorn State denied Alabama A&M an opportunity to take a strangle hold on the SWAC East Division race with a 21-20 upset of the previously unbeaten Bulldogs on their Homecoming in Huntsville, Ala., Saturday.

The victory for the Braves (3-4, 2-2 SWAC) throws the East title up for grabs after Alabama A&M (6-1, 5-1 SWAC), No. 25  in the FCS Top 25 and No. 2 in the HBCU rankings, appeared to be running away from the field coming into the game. After Saturday’s games all four of the teams chasing the Bulldogs Alcorn, Alabama State, Jackson State and Mississippi Valley have two conference losses each and a shot at the title.

“It was a great win for us,’’ first-year Alcorn coach Jay Hospon said. “Every time you can step on the field and get better and come out with a win in a hostile playing environment, it’s always a good thing” said Hopson.

Alcorn pulled off the upset despite being dominated statistically. The Bulldogs gained 406 yards total offense compared to 211 for the Braves. Alcorn won the turnover battle, however, taking the ball away from the Bulldogs three times, and that was the key to victory. Alabama A&M quarterback Deaunte Mason came into the game having thrown 141 passes without an interception. The Braves intercepted Mason twice, including his first attempt on the second play of the game. The held Mason to 12-for-27 passing and 158 yards and ended is streak of passing for at least 230 yards at four consecutive games.

Devon Francois returned an interception 66 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to give Alcorn a 14-10 lead. Running back Kaderius Lacey put the Bulldogs ahead 17-14 with a 39-yard run at 8:29 of the third quarter. The run was the highlight of a big day for the senior from Calera, Ala., who rushed for a career-high 205 yards on 12 carries and moved ahead of Ulysses Banks as the Bulldogs’ career rushing leader in the Division I era with 2,579 yards.

Alcorn recaptured the lead 21-17 on its next possession, driving 54 yards in seven plays. The Braves scored on John Gibbs’ 17-yard pass to Davoris Doss. Terrance Lewis gave the Braves a short field by returning the kickoff following Lacey’s touchdown 35 yards to Alabama A&M’s 46.

Alcorn carried its seven-point lead into the fourth quarter, and the Braves’ defense scratched and clawed to protect it. The Braves stopped Alabama A&M at Alcorn’s 41 early in the fourth quarter when they forced Lacey to fumble. After the offense went three-and-out, the Braves’ defense was tested again. Alabama A&M methodically drove the ball from its 33-yard line to Alcorn’s 22 in 10 plays. However, on third-and-nine, Francois deflected Mason’s pass that was intended for Torey Smith, and the Bulldogs had to settle for Chance Wilson’s 39-yard field goal with 5:30 to play after they were penalized five yards for delay of the game.

The Bulldogs got the ball once again with 4:04 on the clock, this time at their 24. They got to Alcorn’s 41 and their offense stalled. Mason completed a pass to Lacey for a four-yard loss on first down, scrambled for a two-yard gain on second down and threw and incompletion on third down. After the Bulldogs were penalized five yards for a false start, Alcorn dropped Mason for a four-yard loss on fourth-and-15. The Braves got the ball back with 59 seconds remaining and ran out the clock.

Key Results
Jackson State 37, Alabama State 34: The Tigers remained in contention in the SWAC East with a road victory thanks to freshman Ryan Deising’s 40-yard field goal as time expired. Junior quarterback Clayton Moore was the offensive star for Jackson State (3-4, 4-2 SWAC). Moore rushed for 131 yards, his second consecutive game with 100 or more yards rushing, and he threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Moore scored three touchdowns on the ground, including a three-yarder with 3:53 left that set the stage for Deising’s winning field goal. Alabama State quarterback Greg Jenkins’ stats were almost as impressive as Moore’s. Jenkins threw for 262 yards and a touchdown, a six-yard toss to T.C. McWilliams, and he rushed for 71 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown run. However, he threw an interception late in the game that led to Jackson State’s game-tying drive. The game was the last for the Hornets (4-3, 4-2 SWAC), the preseason pick to win the SWAC East at Cramton Bowl before opening their on-campus stadium against Tuskegee in the Turkey Day Classic on Thanksgiving.

Miss. Valley State 45, Grambling State 21: The Delta Devils beat the visiting G-Men for the first time since 1996, sending them to their first-ever 0-6 start. The Delta Devils (2-4, 2-2 SWAC) had their highest point total since 2009. Sophomore receiver Julian Stafford had a led the Delta Devils’ offense with seven catches for 162 yards and two touchdowns. He also had an 88-yard kickoff return for a score, and he finished the game with 263 all-purpose yards. The victory was just the fifth for the Delta Devils in 55 games against Grambling (0-6, 0-5 SWAC).

North Carolina A&T 38, Howard 10: The Aggies handed the visiting Bison their first MEAC loss on the strength of solid defensive effort and Mike Mayhew’s strong running. The Aggies came up with three interceptions and returned two for touchdowns. Mayhew rushed for a season-high 138 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries to become just the 12th back in MEAC history with 3,000 or more career rushing yards. Mayhew is 11th on the conference’s all-time list with 3,056 yards. Howard (4-2, 3-1 MEAC) trailed 14-10 at the half. But the game got out of hand early in the third period. Zach Cimaglia’s 40-yard field goal on the Aggies’ first possession increased their lead to 17-10. The next time Howard had the ball, D’Vonte Grant returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown that made the score 24-10, and the rout was on.

North Carolina Central 24, Morgan State 20: The Eagles remained unbeaten in the MEAC with a last-second road victory that extended their winning streak to three consecutive games. The Eagles (4-2, 3-0 MEAC) scored the winning touchdown a 26-yard pass from Jordan Reid to senior tight end Detwan Robinson with 26 seconds remaining in the game. Robinson caught a short pass from Reid on fourth-and-two, broke three tackles and raced into the end zone for the touchdown. Geovonie Irvine’s 20-yard punt return gave the Eagles excellent field position at the Morgan State 47-yard line to start their winning drive with 2:32 left in the game. North Carolina Central is tied for first place in the conference with Bethune-Cookman. Morgan State (3-3, 2-1 MEAC) suffered its first conference loss with the defeat.

Other Results
Chowan 28, Virginia Union 21
Elizabeth City State 63, Lincoln (Pa.) 19
Johnson C. Smith 35, Fayetteville State 18
Shaw 48, Livingstone 20
Virginia State 26, Bowie State 20 (OT)
Winston-Salem State 56, Saint Augustine’s 37

Delaware State 31, South Carolina State 17
Florida A&M 44, Savannah State 3
Hampton 28, Norfolk State 14

Albany State 16, Morehouse 13
Clark Atlanta 14, Benedict 10
Tuskegee 16, Stillman 0
Fort Valley State 38, Concordia-Selma 12
Lane 16, Point University 10
Miles 45, Kentucky State 0

Southern 34, Texas Southern 7


Edward Waters 30, Webber International 29
Glenville State 29, West Virginia State 12
Lincoln (Mo.) 34, Nebraska-Kearney 27
Millersville 35, Cheyney 0
Tennessee State 40, Southeast Missouri 28
University of Indianapolis 45, Central State 13
Wesley College 24, Virginia Univ of Lynchburg 7

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