Big First Half Helps Alcorn State Stay Perfect in SWAC Play

Alcorn State University was nearly unstoppable in the first half in last week’s game against Alabama State University. The second half was a bit more of a struggle for the Braves, but thanks to the hot first half, they won 24-10 over the Hornets.

Alcorn State stayed perfect in conference play last week.

After fumbling the opening kickoff, Alcorn State started its opening drive at its own six-yard line. That didn’t bother Braves quarterback Lenorris Footman and running back `De’Lance Turner.

Footman and Turner took turns making plays to take the Braves down the field. The drive was capped off when Footman broke loose on a 50-yard run with nice spin moves and breaking tackles into the end zone.

Alabama State ended up punting on five of its six drives in the first half. The sixth drive was just two plays as the first half came to an end.

Alcorn State added a field goal and went up 10-0 and on its ensuing drive, and Footman threw his only touchdown of the night on a 21-yard strike to Norlando Veals for a 17-0 lead. Footman scored his second rushing touchdown on an eight-yard, putting the Braves up 24-0 at halftime.

Meanwhile, the Hornets struggled on offense for most of the first half with nearly nothing happening in the passing game. Alabama State only had two drives that went over three plays, and both those drives only went five plays.

Alabama State started the second half by taking the kickoff and moving down the field. The Hornets went on a 10-play drive that imploded on a first-and-goal from the Alcorn State four-yard line.

Alabama State then committed a false start, unsportsmanlike foul and an offensive-holding penalty to have a first-and-goal from the Braves 31-yard line. A sack from Alcorn State moved the ball back to its 41-yard line, and Alabama State was forced to punt.

Late in the third quarter, Alabama State got a big play from running back Ezra Grey, who busted loose on a 59-yard touchdown run. That cut the Braves’ lead to 24-7 as Alcorn State’s offense went stagnant in the second half, partially because of poor field position and execution.

The Hornets added a field goal on one of their best drives of the night. Neither team could score the rest of the game as Alcorn State moved to 3-0 in SWAC play with the 24-10 win.

Footman threw for 160 yards on 13 of 21 passes with a touchdown. He rushed for 122 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns. Turner added 169 yards on the ground on 22 carries but didn’t get into the end zone.

Alabama State quarterback Darryl Pearson Jr. struggled to throw the ball as he completed just six of 23 passes for just 75 yards. Gray was the Hornets’ offensive highlight with 124 yards rushing on just 10 carries.

The next month could make or break the Braves’ chances at a fourth straight appearance in the SWAC Championship Game. Alcorn State hosts Prairie View A&M University, 2-0 in conference, on Oct. 14 before traveling Grambling State University, also 2-0 in conference, on Oct. 21.

After a bye week, the Braves host Alabama A&M University, 2-0 in conference, on Nov. 4. Those three games could decide who wins the East Division.