The Alcorn State Braves traveled to Las Cruces, New Mexico to take on the New Mexico State Aggies at Aggie Memorial Stadium. The game was played on Saturday, November 3rd as Alcorn State (7-3, 5-1) entered their third non conference game of the year. The Braves who currently sit atop the Eastern Division in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) had their hands full against the Aggies (3-7).
Special teams has seemingly been a problem all year for the Braves. Saturday’s game was no different. 13-seconds into the game Alcorn trailed 7-0 after a 99-yard kick return for a touchdown for New Mexico State. Following a punt from Alcorn, the Aggies topped a 10 play 64-yard drive for another touchdown to take a 14-0 lead over the Braves with 10:05 remaining in the first quarter. However, Alcorn would respond behind the legs of Running back De’Shawn Waller who rushed in a 12-yard touchdown to complete a 91-yard drive for the Braves’ offense. As the first quarter concluded, New Mexico State held a 14-7 lead over Alcorn.
The Braves held possession of the football as the second quarter began, but a fumble lead to more points for the Aggies. New Mexico State completed a 23-yard pass to extend their lead over Alcorn. At the 12:20 mark of the second quarter, the Aggies held a 21-7 lead over the Braves. On Alcorn’s ensuing possession, they were forced to punt quickly. Following the punt, New Mexico State tacked on another touchdown with a five play 82-yard drive. At the 8:29 mark of the second quarter, the Braves were behind 28-7. The Aggies continued to add on to their lead. After forcing another Alcorn punt, New Mexico State drove the ball 90-yards to push their lead to a commanding 35-7 with only two minutes remaining in the half. Alcorn would take advantage of those two-minutes when Quarterback Noah Johnson completed a 50-yard pass to Wide receiver Dayall Harris for a Braves’ touchdown. This score gave Alcorn some momentum heading into the half as they trailed 35-14.
The second half started with good defense from both teams. Both teams were able to force punts before the offenses began to dominate again. In the third quarter, the Braves got on the board first with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to Wide receiver Chris Blair. This touchdown completed a nine play, 87-yard drive. With 5:59 remaining in the third quarter, the Aggies lead 35-21. New Mexico State would then add three points to their lead with a 30-yard field goal. The game entered the fourth quarter with the Braves trailing 38-21.
Alcorn State made a big push in the fourth quarter. On their second drive in the fourth quarter, Johnson completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to Wide receiver Raidarious Anderson for a touchdown. At the 11:08 mark in the fourth quarter, the Braves trails 38-28. Following the Braves’ score, they wasted no time regaining possession of the football. Defensive Lineman Sterling Shippy for Alcorn recovered a fumble to give the Braves excellent field position. Waller, then dashed 17-yard for an Alcorn State touchdown to cut the Aggie lead to 38-35 with 10-minutes remaining in the game. On New Mexico State’s ensuing possession, they were able to waste three minutes off of the play clock and scored another touchdown. With 7:30 remaining in the game, the Aggies held a 45-35 lead over Alcorn State. After the score, New Mexico State forced a turnover, and added another touchdown to push their lead to 52-35 with three minutes remaining in the game. Despite the slim chances, Alcorn never gave up and they fought hard all the way through to the finish. As the clock wound down with under one-minute remaining, Waller was able to score his third touchdown of the game. The contest would end with a 52-42 loss for Alcorn State.
Johnson played a good game for the Braves with 316 passing yards, and four passing touchdowns. He also added 149 rushing yards. Waller also played well for Alcorn State with 144 rushing yards, and three total touchdowns. Harris had a big day receiving, with 108 yards and one touchdown. The Braves’ defense was led by Defensive back Lashaun Ealey who tallied nine total tackles.
The Braves are not in action next weekend due to a bye in their schedule, but will play a crucial SWAC game on November 17th at Spinks-Casem Stadium in Lorman, Mississippi against the Jackson State University Tigers (4-4, 3-2). A win here will guarantee the Braves their 5th consecutive Eastern Division championship.