Daniel Duhart and Quinteris Toppings combined to complete 15 of 18 passes for 251 yards and a score in leading Alabama State to a 26-10 win over Jackson State. The win kept the Hornets undefeated at home this season as they have now won all five home games.
The game also was the first home game since Sept. 27 and got the Hornets back in the win column.
“Today it was good to be back at our stadium to play against Jackson State and I thought the atmosphere was good,” Head Coach Reggie Jackson said. “It was Connection Day and we had a good turn out.”
“I’m really proud of our guys and we had a plan for them. I thought this was a really good week of practice for us and we changed things up a little. Our guys came out and played the game the right way. Our defense was very physical and did a great job for us. Our offense was able to score some points for us and that was it. We are happy to finally get a win and we’re happy to get it in front of our fans.”
After playing to a stalemate and even at three at halftime, the Hornets (5-5/4-4 SWAC) came out and scored on the opening possession of the game. It took seven plays to go 81 yards and the final 57 yards came on a catch and run from Earl Lucas when Toppings found him across the middle. The extra point was blocked, but ASU had a 9-3 lead and would never trail again.
JSU (3-7/1-6 SWAC) drove right back down the field and lined up for a 23 yard field goal to keep the Tigers in the game. Antonio Humphrey was able to break through the defensive line and block the field goal to preserve the Hornets slim lead.
“That was a huge play,” Barlow said. “Coach McNeil runs our field goal block and those who have been at our practices have seen they have blocked them at the practices. So you do it at practice and it carries over to the game, but it was a huge momentum deal for us. With that quarterback Ivy and the playmakers they have it would have made it interesting if they had tied it up and gave them a little momentum. Thankfully our guys followed through with what they had been coached to do and was able to get in there and make the play.”
The blocked kick seemed to inspire ASU’s offense again, as they went right back down the field and pushed across another score on a one-yard scoring run from Khalid Thomas. That score pushed ASU’s lead out to 16-3.
ASU held JSU on its’ next possession and forced a punt. From there the Hornets again went right down the field to score their third touchdown of the second half. This score came on a different type of play as ASU receiver Ephraim Henderson scored after Thomas had fumbled into the endzone. Henderson was able to fall on the ball and pushed ASU out to a 23-3 lead.
After another JSU possession and punt, the Hornets scored on its third consecutive possession. This one covered 38 yards and seven plays as Preston Clark kicked a 32 yard field goal with 5:48 left in the game to give the Hornets their final points.
JSU did manage to get into the endzone with 3:28 left on a La Montiez Ivy hook up with LaCorey Tucker from 25 yards out for the final 26-10 lead.
ASU finished the game with 478 yards of total offense. Along with the 251 yards passing, the Hornets rushed for 227 yards. Malcolm Cyrus again lead the way with 72 yards rushing on 17 carries, but sat out half of the third and all of the fourth quarter after reinjuring his ankle.
Six receivers had receptions for ASU and Jamir Hannah’s five led the team. Earl Lucas led the team in yards with 105 yards on three receptions to go with his touchdown.
Toppings came into the game and rushed for 51 yards to go with his 127 yards passing completing all five of his pass attempts, and Thomas finished with 48 yards on 11 carries and added the score. Duhart threw for 124 yards hitting 10 of his 13 passes.
ASU’s defense again stepped up to stop another potent offense, holding the Tigers to only 295 yards of total offense. JSU only managed to rush for 83 yards on 26 carries, averaging 3.2 yards per carry. The Tigers came into the game as one of the top passing offenses in the SWAC averaging 280 yards per game. Against the Hornets they only managed 212 yards passing.
Daerius Washington led ASU’s defensive efforts with eight tackles. That includes 3.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and he also intercepted a JSU pass and returned it 19 yards.
Kourtney Berry added seven stops and had half a sack and a tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
“We knew they wanted to establish the run and do a better job at running the ball this game,” Barlow said. “Although they had been throwing it a bunch we knew they would try to run it. Once our guys changed from that kind of lethargicness, guys like “Ghost” (Roderick Henderson) started playing and making plays.”
The teams played to a 3-all score at halftime as the kickers recorded the only points of the first 30 minutes. JSU’s Ryan Deising kicked a 45 yard field goal at the 10:37 mark in the second quarter to put the Tigers up 3-0.
Clark’s 26 yard field goal with 1:54 left to go before halftime evened the score at 3. ASU out gained JSU 190-175 in the first half, with ASU rushing for 111 yards and throwing for 79.
“It was huge for us (the win),” Barlow said. “We’ve played some really close games and winning is contagious and so is losing, so you just want to get back to having that sweet taste in your mouth. The guys have continued to work and practice really hard and it feels good to know their work they’ve put in was beneficial for them today.”