Isaiah Crowell ran for a career-high 149 yards and two touchdowns, while the defense made five takeaways and pitched a shutout as Alabama State blanked Texas Southern 45-0 Saturday afternoon at Cramton Bowl.
The Hornets (4-2 overall, 4-1 SWAC) used big scoring plays to set the tone in winning their second straight game, as Crowell had scoring runs of 63 and 34 yards and Landon Jones scored on a 32-yard scoring pass to take a 21-0 lead.
“We know what Crowell can do,” Barlow said. “He’s a special guy, and it seems to come pretty easy to him. He’s a really good player. We’re happy to have him here. The guys have really embraced him. He’s been a great team member, and he did a good job for us.”
Alabama State scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives in a 3:39 span of the second quarter. Crowell’s 63-yard run, a career long, came on the first play of the drive to give the Hornets a 7-0 lead with 7:56 to play until halftime.
A pair of defensive takeaways set up Alabama State’s next two scores. Brandon Slater’s recovery of a TSU fumble at the Tigers’ 42-yard line set up the Hornets’ next touchdown. On 3rd-and-2, Crowell broke a 34-yard scoring run to extend the lead to 14-0 with 5:12 remaining in the period.
The first of two Darius Knox interceptions two plays later set up the next score. QB Greg Jenkins fired a 32-yard touchdown pass to Landon Jones on the far sideline to extend the lead to 21-0 with just over four minutes remaining until halftime.
The defense allowed a season-low 133 total yards (29 rushing, 104 passing).
“We were very impressed with our defense; they came out and played with a lot of passion and a lot of enthusiasm,”
Barlow said of the Hornets’ first shutout since a 24-0 win over Savannah State on Oct. 30, 2010. “Our coaches did a good job of preparing these guys. It was important to them.”
After Bobby Wenzig converted a 28-yard field goal in the third quarter, the Hornets broke the game open late. Backup quarterback Daniel Duhart directed three touchdown drives, including a 26-yard touchdown pass to DeMario Bell and a Duhart five-yard touchdown run.
The Hornets have outscored opponents 99-14 in the past two games, heading into next Saturday’s home game vs. Jackson State.
“It took some time to get used to what everybody likes,” Barlow said of the offensive cohesion in the last two weeks. “We do have a new running back (Crowell), and (we’ve been) finding out things that he likes to do. The sky is the limit for our offense, if we can just stay on it and continue to get better.”