JACKSON, Miss. – Prairie View A&M football earned a tough 28-14 win at Jackson State in a grind-it-out type of contest Saturday at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Jalen Morton accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) as the Panthers (5-3 overall, 5-1 SWAC) wins the first leg of the ‘final four’ heading into a pair of home games against two-time defending champ Alcorn St. (3-4, 3-3), who is still tied for first in the East with Jackson St. (3-5, 3-3), and Southern (5-2, 5-0), defeated Alcorn St. 41-33 earlier Saturday.
“It was a tough football game,” said Prairie View A&M head coach Willie Simmons. “Jackson State is playing really good football. We knew it was going to be a 60-minute game. Luckily for us we were able to jump out to an early lead, and get a big, big turnover coming out of halftime that gave us a 21-point lead and kind of put them in passing mode.” [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B01FRPHJYW” locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
Caleb Broach rushed 17 times for 78 yards and a touchdown, and Anthony Wiltz and Cameron Smith added TD receptions for the Panthers, who built a 21-0 lead and made it stand up.
“It’s tough to win on the road in this league,” Simmons said. “I’m proud of the team winning in a tough environment on Jackson State’s homecoming in front of a great crowd. They have a great football team and great coaching staff. We’re fortunate to get out of here with a win. We’ll get back to work this week. The road doesn’t get any easier. We’ve got a tough Alcorn State team coming in next week.”
The Panther defense held Jackson State to minus-3 yards rushing, forced three turnovers, and recorded three sacks. James Harper led the way with eight tackles, one sack, and 2.5 tackles for loss.
“We challenged the defense to stop them from running the football,” said Simmons. “Whenever you can run the ball, it opens up so many other things in the passing game. We were able to stuff them in the running game,which was a great accomplishment for this defense as they again gave us a chance to win the game. I’m proud of (Defensive Coordinator Ralph) Street and the defensive staff of putting a great game plan together and they executed it well.”
PVAMU took the lead in the first quarter, driving 42 yards in three plays. Wiltz scored on a 21-yard screen pass from Morton to give PVAMU a lead they would not relinquish at 7-0 with just over 8 ½ minutes remaining in the period.
A Marquice O’Leary 39-yard punt return set up the second score just before halftime. A seven-play, 37-yard drive ended with Smith’s seven-yard TD catch from Morton on the final play of the period to give the Panthers a 14-0 lead.
Special teams came up big on the opening kick of the second half, as Terrence Reynolds forced a fumble that was recovered by Foster Brown II at the JSU 25. Following a pass interference against the Tigers, Caleb Broach scored on a 10-yard run to give PVAMU a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter.
Jackson State added a pair of touchdowns in the third quarter before the Panthers put it away in the fourth. Morton capped off a six-play, 53-yard drive with a four-yard scamper for the clincher as Prairie View A&M rushed for 113 yards in the second half.
“I thought the defense did a great job today of making some big plays and keeping them behind the chains,” Simmons said. “Special teams made some the big plays as well. Two of the three phases played really well. Offensively we struggled at times, but we were able to run the ball late, which was good to see.”
Courtesy: PVAMU Athletics