BIRMINGHAM — The Interviews are over, the practice sessions are done, so are the luncheons and the talk. It’s now time for Alabama State and Alabama A&M to meet on the field for the 73rd State Farm Magic City Classic.
The game, as always, will be played at historic Legion Field in Birmingham with kickoff scheduled for 2:30 p.m. The game will be shown live on ESPN3 and replayed on a tape delay basis at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.
“It’s always exciting to be a part of this game,” Head Coach Reggie Barlow said. “It’s exciting for the players, coaches and especially the fans of each school. You can throw the records out the window when these two teams play. There have been times when ASU has had a good record and A&M has not and they have come out on top in the game, and vice versa.”
The two teams ended their pregame week of events at Friday’s team luncheon which saw both head coaches speak and make guarantees on the game.
“I can guarantee that tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. Alabama State will wear white jerseys,” Barlow said to a chorus of laughter as he finished his speech.
“I know that at 2:30 tomorrow there will be a football game,” Alabama A&M Head Coach James Spady said.
The Bulldogs (2-5/ 1-3 SWAC) come into the game losers of three consecutive games. The record may not tell how well AAMU is playing as they have lost consecutive close games; a 38-28 loss to Grambling State, the lone undefeated team in the SWAC, and a 35-34 loss to Southern. A game which saw the Jags trail 34-14 midway through the third quarter before making a late run to win.
Jaymason Lee leads the AAMU offense, who enters the game averaging 26.3 points per game. He has completed 76 passes on the season for 1,332 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is also dangerous with his legs as he has rushed for 139 yards on the season.
Harvey Harris leads a trio of runners used by the Bulldogs with 346 yards and four scores. He averages 4.5 yards per carry. Bryan Brower gets plenty of carries also, rushing for 331 yards and two scores, while Brand Eldemire has rushed for 168 yards and three scores.
Defensively, Bryan Browser leads the Bulldogs with 48 total stops. Anthony Miller has 32 and Ja’mel Morris has 28.
The Hornets are looking to get the running game going and of course that means plenty of carries for Malcolm Cyrus who enters the game with 912 rushing yards. He is 88 yards away from becoming the 11th player in ASU history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
Daniel Duhart, the 2013 State Farm Magic City Classic Offensive MVP, will look to add to his 1,372 passing yards and his six touchdowns. Duhart has become more of a threat this year with 109 rushing yards and two scores.
A trio of receivers will look to find some open spots in the AAMU defense. Cyrus and Earl Lucas lead the Hornets with 20 receptions each. Cyrus has 262 receiving yards and Lucas has 162.
DeMario Bell may be the best home run threat in the conference. Even though he has only caught 19 passes through the first seven games, he is averaging 25 yards per reception and has four touchdown receptions.
Sophomore Kourtney Berry will look to get the Hornets defense back on track as he continues to lead the Hornets with 80 total stops. Daerius Washington has 62 and Torrey Davis 46.
ASU is looking forward to getting a healthy Derrick Billups back in the lineup. He has struggled with injuries over the last two games and has not practiced in three weeks as he has tried to get over his injuries. He was the defensive MVP in the Classic last season and will look to build on that performance.
Courtesy: Alabama State Sports Information