Late in the fourth quarter on a clear night in Hattiesburg, Miss., Alcorn State had the ball in Southern Mississippi territory driving for the win.
Even though USM hadn’t won a home game since 2011, Alcorn State was supposed to be a pushover. That’s how FBS were supposed to go. That looked evident as USM jumped out to a 23-13 lead.
The Braves fought back, though, behind the dazzling play of junior quarterback John Gibbs Jr., who rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown to keep his team in it.
On the drive that would ultimately decide the game, Gibbs was picked off by USM’s Jomez Applewhite to end the upset bid.
The 26-20 outcome might not have been what head coach Jay Hopson, a former USM assistant, wanted.
But Alcorn State proved it has the chops to realistically compete for a SWAC championship.
“We played well, not quite well enough to win, but I was proud of our effort,” Hopson said. “This type of game should help us down the road the rest of the season.”
Ninety-two points were scored between Georgia Southern and Savannah State. Georgia Southern scored 83 of them Saturday.
GSU was only the fifth team in the FBS to score at least 80 points in a game since 2010, according to NCAA records.
Savannah State gave up 695 yards of offense and failed to drive past midfield until the third quarter. Georgia Southern tied a school record for touchdowns with 12, and did not punt the entire game.
Here is another stat: Georgia State used all 92 players on its roster.
A week after being embarrassed on national TV by North Carolina A&T and being a slight underdog to Division II Tuskegee, Saturday was the biggest game of the season for Alabama A&M head coach James Spady.
Bryan Brower scored two touchdowns and Jaymason Lee passed for two more as Alabama A&M beat Tuskegee 30-17 for Spady’s first win.
“I can’t describe it,” Spady said. “We asked them what kind of legacy do they want. I appreciate the way they responded.”
Malcolm Cyrus was big for Alabama State.
Not even 68 total minutes of lightning delays that halted the game could stop him.
The running back had 171 yards rushing and 86 yards receiving on more than 30 touches Saturday night to help Alabama State beat FCS ranked Tennessee State 27-21 in its most impressive win of the young season.
“We talked about a couple of characteristics we needed to have for this game,” head coach Reggie Barlow said. “It was heart, resiliency, and we wanted to play as a team and just make sacrifices for each other. We were able to do that and we were able to get away with a win.”
New coach. No problem for Winston-Salem State.
The Rams rolled to 38-7 win over UNC-Pembroke to give rookie head coach Kienus Boulware, who replaced Connell Maynor for his first “W.”
All-CIAA quarterback Rudy Johnson was great as usual for the Rams, as he threw for 122 yards and a touchdown.
The defense was described as a “10” by Johnson after the game. The unit allowed only 146 yards, and held UNC-Pembroke scoreless at the half.
“I’m kind of shocked,” Boulware said of his team’s relentless play.
Quote of the week: “We expect to play well no matter who we are playing against on any Saturday,” said Kwashaun Quick after North Carolina A&T’s 31-30 loss to No. 5 Costal Carolina. “Whether it’s a pro team, Clemson or anybody, we expect to win. We played all right, but it wasn’t enough to win.”
Player of the week: Alabama State running back Malcolm Cryus. He had 260 yards from scrimmage in the Hornets 27-21 win over Tennessee State.