Alcorn State has not appeared in the SWAC Championship Game since its inception 15 years ago. Saturday, the Braves put the rest of the conference on notice that this could be the year the drought ends as they thrashed Southern, the reining SWAC champion, 56-16 in Lorman, Missssippi. It was the third straight victory for the Braves (4-1, 2-0 SWAC) against Southern (2-3, 1-1 SWAC).
Alcorn dominated in every phase of the contest while topping the 50-point mark for the fourth time this season, despite committing four turnovers. The Braves accumulated 682 total yards, including 410 rushing, had three times as many first downs as the Jaguars (39-13) and held Southern scoreless in the second half.
“I thought we ran the ball pretty well,’’ Alcorn Coach Jay Hopson said. “We really executed on offense. Defensively, I thought we played at a fast and physical pace, which is what we had to do to defeat the defending SWAC champions.’’
Alcorn led 28-16 at the half, but Southern had reason for optimism going into the locker room, after scoring twice in the final 4 ? minutes of the second quarter. Greg Pittman booted a 37-yard field goal and Austin Howard threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Willie Quinn. However, the Jaguars went three-and-out on their first three possessions of the second half and never got back on track. Anthony Williams II and Darryan Ragsdale powered Alcorn’s running game with more than 100 yards each. Williams had 151 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries, and Ragsdale had 125 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries.
Quarterback John Gibbs Jr. threw for 224 yards and a touchdown. Southern had an opportunity to make a statement early in the game and perhaps take control of the contest. The Jaguars took the opening kickoff and reached Alcorn’s 14-yard line after quarterback Howard completed a 38-yard pass to Reggie Travis. The drive stalled and Pittman’s 36-yard field goal attempt was short after it was tipped. The Jaguars got the ball back on a turnover. Howard threw a pass that was tipped and Justin Morgan caught the deflection and ran 55 yards for a touchdown that gave the Jaguars a 7-0 lead. Alcorn responded with 28 unanswered points, and the rout was on.
Bethune-Cookman 34, Florida Tech 33 – The Wildcats, No. 1 in the Black College rankings, squandered a 13-point first-half lead and then rallied for a come-from-behind non-conference home victory. The Wildcats (3-1) led 20-7 with 2:50 remaining in the first half after Anthony Jordan scored on a 22-yard run. Jordan’s five-yard touchdown run minutes earlier had given the Wildcats a 14-7 lead. Florida Tech (3-1) scored 20 unanswered points for a 27-20 lead at the 10:55 mark of the fourth quarter. Quarterback Quintin Williams scored on a 27-yard run to tie the score with 3:18 remaining, and his 67-yard touchdown pass to Frank Brown with 1:25 left in the game put the Wildcats ahead. 34-37. Florida Tech struck back with a 43-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mark Cato to Tyler Bass with 19 seconds showing on the clock. Florida Tech opted to go for the two-point conversion rather than kicking the extra and going into overtime. The strategy backfired when Cato’s pass was intercepted. The Wildcats’ defense allowed 425 yards but forced the Panthers, who play in the Gulf South Conference in Division II, to commit three turnovers.
Grambling State 26, Prairie View A&M 20 – Quarterback Jonathan Williams rang up 335 yards total offense and passed for two touchdowns as the suddenly resurgent G-Men claimed a victory in the State Fair Classic at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Williams completed 21 of 31 passes for 250 yards, and he rushed for 85 yards on 12 carries while leading the G-Men (2-2, 2-0 SWAC) to back-to-back wins for the first time since 2011. (They defeated Jackson State 40-35 last week.) The win ended a three-game losing streak for Grambling in the State Fair Classic. The loss keeps Prairie View (0-4, 0-3 SWAC) winless this season. The teams played on even terms for the first three quarters. The score was tied at 7, 14, 17 and 20. The G-Men held Prairie View scoreless in the second half for the first time this season. Running back Juwan Martin scored the winning touchdown on an eight-yard run with 6:40 left in the game. Martin finished the game with 75 rushing yards as Grambling piled up 210 yards on the ground.
Jackson State 33, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 30 (OT) – The Tigers lost the battle, but they won the war in their SWAC victory on the road. Arkansas-Pine Bluff won the statistical battle with 468 total yards to 313 for the Tigers. Quarterback La Montiez Ivy scored the wining touchdown on a 15-yard run in overtime to salvage the victory for Jackson State (3-2, 1-1 SWAC), which led most of the game. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-3, 0-2 SWAC) tied the score at 27-all on Tyler Strickland’s 21-yard field goal with 7:17 left in the fourth period, and neither team scored again in regulation. The Golden Lions’ got the ball first in overtime, and Strickland booted another 21-yard field goal. Ivy scored the winning the touchdown on second down after completing a 10-yard pass to Rakeem Sims.
Albany State 14, Miles 7 – The Golden Rams picked up their first victory of the season with a win at home in a rematch of the 2013 SIAC Championship Game thanks to their defense. Cornerback Fred Holton, a transfer from Georgia Tech, returned a fumble 97 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to put the Golden Rams (1-2) on top 14-0 and provide the margin of victory. Albany State’s first points came on quarterback Frank Rivers’ two-yard run in the first quarter. Quarterback Demetric Price threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Pitts in the second quarterback for Miles’ only points. The Golden Rams held Miles (1-3) to 288 yards total offense, including just 56 in the second half.
Alabama State 38, Texas Southern 3 – The Hornets used their powerful running game to knock the visiting Tigers from the unbeaten ranks. Senior running back Malcolm Cyrus ran for 118 yards, his fourth 100-plus yards game of the season as the Hornets (4-1, 2-1 SWAC) amassed 273 yards on the ground. Khalid Thomas contributed 66 yards to the Hornets’ rushing total, and quarterback Daniel Duhart chipped in with 63. Duhart ran for two touchdowns, and he also passed for 209 yards and a touchdown. Texas Southern (4-1, 2-1 SWAC) only managed 221 total yards, including 99 passing.
Delaware State 35, Savannah State 10
Norfolk State 15, Morgan State 14
North Carolina A&T 38, Howard 22
South Carolina State 17, Hampton 10
Tennessee State 27, Florida A&M 7
SWAC Alabama A&M 42, Mississippi Valley State 20
Livingstone 36, Bowie State 33
Saint Augustine’s 33,
Chowan 31 Shaw 38,
Lincoln (Pa.) 27 Virginia State 35,
Fayetteville State 14 Virginia Union 27,
Johnson C. Smith 26 Winston-Salem State 35,
Elizabeth City State 7
Delta State 72, Central State 8
Fort Valley State 33, Benedict 30
Morehouse 20, Paine 10
Stillman 34, Kentucky State 20,
Tuskegee 44, Lane 3
West Georgia 42, Clark Atlanta 2
Edward Waters 40, Point University 7
Fairmont State 24,West Virginia State 12
Hardin Simmons 30, Langston 29
Kutztown 74, Cheyney 0
Oklahoma Panhandle 70,Texas College 27
Saint Francis 80, Virginia-Lynchburg 0
Truman State 29, Lincoln 20
West Alabama 60, Concordia-Selma 7