LORMAN, Miss. – Moe Wedman’s 11-yard touchdown reception with just over two minutes remaining proved to be the difference Saturday night, as No. 10 Stephen F. Austin held off upset-minded Alcorn State, 31-27 inside Jack Spinks – Marino Casem Stadium.
With the game’s original kickoff time slated for 6 p.m., storms swept through the Lorman, Mississippi area forcing the contest to be delayed by more than two hours.
Kickoff did not occur until 9:22 p.m., with the game eventually stretching into the wee hours of Sunday, as 12:17 a.m. serving as the official finish.
Alcorn State (0-1) held a 24-10 halftime lead following redshirt senior running back Jarveon Howard’s 73-yard touchdown scamper with just 38 seconds remaining on the clock in the opening half.
In the second half, Stephen F. Austin (1-1) scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter, beginning with a 7-play, 53-yard drive that spanned just over four minutes on the clock. The drive was capped by quarterback Trae Self’s 33-yard strike to Lawton Rikel who was unevaded on his way to the end zone.
That score brought the visiting Lumberjacks to within 24-17.
After a quick three-and-out from the Braves, the Lumberjacks were gifted positive field position for the second consecutive drive following a shanked Alcorn punt, allowing the visitors to start their ensuing drive at the Braves’ 35-yard line.
It would take the Lumberjacks just two plays to find the back of the end zone, as freshman running back Jerrell Wimbley burst through the middle for a 20-yard score that knotted the game at 24-all, following the extra point from Chris Campos.
Alcorn would step back out in front midway through the fourth quarter, with the Braves taking just under five minutes off the clock in a methodical 12-play, 93-yard drive for the eventual go-ahead field goal.
The drive was continued on a crucial fourth down play when Stephen F. Austin was called for leaping the line on the blocked punt attempt of Alcorn’s Noah Kiani. That allowed the drive to continue for the Braves, followed directly by running back Niko Duffey’s 33-yard run that gave them a first and goal at the Lumberjacks’ 8 yard line.
Kiani would finish the drive with a 23-yard field goal, allowing the Braves to go back on top, 27-24 with 7:23 showing on the clock.
However, it wouldn’t take the nation’s 10th-ranked team long to answer, as a 9-play, 52-yard drive saw a host of Wimbley rushing attempts, eventually culminating with a Self scoring strike to Moe Wedman, allowing the Lumberjacks to score the game-winning touchdown at 31-27.
For the Braves, their 13-game home winning streak was snapped in the tough defeat.
Alcorn rushed for 290 yards on the night on a soggy Spinks-Casem playing surface, while the defense held the high-powered Lumberjacks offense to just 144 yards on the ground.
In all, the Braves registered 449 yards of total offense in the contest.
Howard ended the night with 199 yards and a rushing touchdown for his troubles, while Duffey ended his night with 73 yards on 11 carries.
Quarterback Aaron Allen, playing in his first game for the Braves after transferring from Louisiana Tech in the spring, finished the night 12-of-26 passing for 159 yards and two scores.
It was Juan Anthony Jr. leading the receivers with three catches for 42 yards and the game’s opening touchdown. Meanwhile, redshirt senior CJ Bolar added three receptions of his own for 39 yards.
The Lumberjacks were led offensively by Self’s 18-for-30 effort passing with 228 yards through the air and three touchdowns.
Courtesy: Alcorn State Athletics