BATON ROUGE, La. – Allowing just 139 yards of total offense, the defense of the Alcorn State University football program shined in a 20-3 victory over Southern on a rainy Saturday evening at A.W. Mumford Stadium.
It was the fourth win a row for Alcorn (4-1, 2-0 SWAC), which spoiled Southern’s (2-3, 1-1 SWAC) Homecoming night.
The defense gave up just 76 passing yards and 63 rushing yards. SU’s lone score came after a kick-off was returned to the red zone, but the Braves held the Jags to a field goal.
Alcorn also scored seven points defensively on a pick-six by sophomore Qwynnterrio Cole.
The Braves led 3-0 at half when the offense scored on their opening drive of the third quarter. The scoring play was a one-yard run by junior De’Shawn Waller. Cole’s pick-six then made it 17-3 and gave Alcorn all of the momentum.
Junior Noah Johnson threw for 138 yards and rushed for a game-high 81 yards. The Braves ran for 243 yards as a team which included 57 yards by senior P.J. Simmons, 54 yards by Waller and 50 yards by freshman Marquise Forman. Junior Chris Blair led the receiving core with 79 yards.
Alcorn limited SU quarterback John Lampley to just 9-of-26 throwing with an interception.
To open the game, Southern had the ball first and was stopped, three-and-out, after a big tackle for a loss by junior Brelion Hollis on first down.
On Alcorn’s first possession, the Braves moved the chains a couple times on runs by Simmons to cross midfield. Alcorn then faced 3rd-and-10 when Blair hauled in a 14-yard pass to move the ball to the SU 23. Though, the Braves got backed up by a chop block penalty and were sacked on third down which forced a punt.
Near the end of the first quarter, the Jags started with good field position after an interception by Demerio Houston on a deep route. SU moved the ball to the Alcorn 20 when the Braves got a stop, and a 37-yard field goal attempt sailed wide-right to keep the game scoreless.
A big play in the second quarter came after the Jags recovered a muffed punt at the Alcorn 46. Though, the Braves defense continued to hold strong and forced SU to punt after a rush for no gain, followed by two incomplete passes.
On the ensuing series, the Braves got it started by a 36-yard reception by Blair through the middle to move into SU territory. On the very next play, Simmons rushed up the middle for 13 yards to the SU 27. Alcorn got on the board with a 32-yard field goal by junior Corey McCullough to lead 3-0 with 50 seconds left in the half.
The Braves ran it all the way down the field on the first drive of the second half. It started with an 18-yard run to the right by Johnson after he kept it on a quarterback-option. On the next play, Johnson dashed through the center for a big 38-yard gain to setup first-and-goal. The Braves scored on a one-yard run by Waller as he went high and jumped through the defensive line to give Alcorn a 10-0 edge at the 12:58 mark.
Southern responded with a huge kick return by Christopher Chaney which put the Jags in the red zone at the Alcorn 18. However, the Braves defense stood tall again and held SU to a 28-yard field goal which cut the deficit to 10-3 with 11:11 remaining in the third. The series included a key tackle for a loss by Hollis on 3rd-and-1.
Alcorn had a promising drive going on its next series after Forman ran it to the SU 36 for a gain of 15. However, the drive ended after an interception by Chase Foster on a screen pass midway through the third.
After another defensive stop by the Braves, the Jags tried a fake punt but the pass fell incomplete, giving the ball back to Alcorn at the SU 40. The Braves were then looking at a 4th-and-4 when they decided to go for it, but the handoff through the middle was stopped short.
The Jags were faced with a 3rd-and-10 when Lampley tried to dump off a short pass to the right, but Cole cut in front of the route for an interception and returned it back untouched for a pick-six. It extended Alcorn’s lead to 17-3 with 4:14 to go in the third.
The Braves upped their advantage to 20-3 with 8:28 left in the fourth after a 22-yard field goal by McCullough. It came after a 13-play, 54-yard drive which included a 12-yard rush by Forman.
SU had the opportunity to put points on the board after crossing midfield on the ensuing drive, but the Braves forced a turnover. Senior Sterling Shippy stripped the running back near the line of scrimmage and senior Brady Smith dove on it for the recovery.
Up next, the Braves will return to Jack Spinks-Marino Casem Stadium next Saturday when they host Alabama State at 2 p.m. on Homecoming. Alcorn is 23-18 all-time against the Hornets and have won four straight meetings between the two teams.
Courtesy: ASU Athletics