Mississippi Valley State lost more than dozen games by double-digit scores. The Delta Devils have now lost their last two games by single digits after dropping a 28-21 decision to Southern. We call this progress. Karl Morgan has the toughest job in all of intercollegiate athletic football, but entering the last two fourth quarters his team had a realistic chance to win.
With games versus Alabama A&M, Jackson State and Grambling State, Morgan’s job is going to get a whole lot tougher in pursuit of the school‘s first win since 2009.
As for Southern, they are thanking the football gods for their defense (which allowed under 300 yards of total offense and seven second half points). Wide receiver LaQuinton Evans caught nine balls for 127 yards and two touchdowns, while backup quarterback J.P. Douglas filled in well going 16-for-25, 223 yards and two touchdowns of his own. Those performances saved the day after five trips inside the 20 yard line yielded no points.
I was at the Chicago Football Classic earlier this season when Alabama A&M blew a 17-0 lead and ended up losing 21-20 to Hampton. It was a demoralizing loss on that early September evening. “We dominated the first half,” a sullen Kaderius Lacey said following the collapse. “We gave the game away. It hurts, but all we can do is move forward.”
The Bulldogs went on to lose 21-6 the following week to Southern. However, Alabama A&M rallied to beat in-state rival Tuskegee and Grambling State.
Saturday night the Bulldogs were in the same shoes as Hampton. Down three scores in the fourth quarter, the team somehow rallied against an Arkansas-Pine Bluff team that featured one of the best defenses in the conference to pull off a dramatic 28-27 comeback that puts the Bulldogs right back in the SWAC East Division race.
Down 27-21 with just over seven minutes remaining, Deaunte Mason, who threw two horrible interceptions earlier in the game, led the Bulldogs on a 76-yard drive that took 6:11 off the clock and ended with an 8-yard TD pass to G’Alonzo Milton.
“When you have a playoff mentality, you tend to be a little more focused. You don’t look at the long schedule. You look at the opportunity you have right now and focus on that,” said head coach Anthony Jones.
Grambling State head coach Doug Williams said earlier this week that the contest versus Prairie View wasn’t a must-win game. The Tigers sure played like it losing 31-23 to the Panthers in the State Fair Classic. At a very disappointing 1-4, it appears if Grambling’s season is over after being tabbed as the favorite to win the SWAC championship.
Prairie View head coach Heishma Northern said he wasn’t concerned about attempting to “bury” Grambling with a win. However, at a very disappointing 1-4, it appears if the Panthers for all intents and purposes put the final nail in the coffin of the Tigers in Dallas.
It is overwhelmingly clear that Alabama State is the best team in the SWAC. The Hornets, who have gotten off to their best start since 2005, signaled the road to Birmingham might go through them by topping Alcorn State 31-23.
Player of the Week:
Southern wide receiver LaQuinton Evans who caught nine balls for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the Jaguars 28-21 win at Mississippi Valley State.
Quote of the Week:
“We played with a great sense of urgency in the fourth quarter,” said Alabama A&M head coach Anthony Jones after their stunning 28-27 win against the Golden Lions “Sometimes you have to get punched in the face before you realize you’re in a fight. We got punched in the face in the third quarter. The way our guys responded is darn near a miracle.”
Week 5 Report Card
Jackson State: A
The Tigers put away Texas Southern with a 37-point second quarter.
Texas Southern: F
If you had ESPNU, you saw what happened. The defending champs probably have already burned the game tape.
The Jaguars were turned away five times deep in Delta Devils territory. However, LaQuinton Evans came to the rescue late.
Mississippi Valley State: C
For the second consecutive week the Delta Devils had a shot to win in the second half. Baby steps.
Grambling State: F
The Tigers season ended in Dallas at the State Fair Classic.
Prairie View: B
The Panthers are now in first-place after a big win.
Alabama A&M: A
The Bulldogs had every excuse to give up down by 20 points entering the fourth quarter to Arkansas-Pine Bluff. A historic comeback has them now in the SWAC title mix.
Alabama State: A
Jackson State had visions of representing the SWAC Eastern Division as the Black National Champions. Maybe we need to start talking about the Hornets doing so instead.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff: F
They took the fourth quarter off against Alabama A&M and it cost them the lead in the SWAC Western Division.
Alcorn State: D
They just were not good enough against the cream of the crop in their own division. If Mississippi Valley State wasn’t on the schedule, Alcorn State wouldn’t have a win.