HBCU Football Wrap-Up

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  • 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.

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