On a scorching hot September evening the Alcorn State University Braves Football team (2-1, 0-0) hosted the Tigers from Texas Sothern (1-2, 0-0). For both teams this matchup represented the first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) game. Alcorn entered the game after a blowout win a week ago against Louisiana College, while the Tigers entered on the heels of defeat thanks to Texas State University. The game kicked off at Spinks-Casem Stadium only moments after the scheduled 6:00 pm start time. Both teams looked anxious as each side understood the importance of beginning SWAC play with a win. Texas Southern won the toss, and decided to defer until the second half, and the Braves began their opening offensive drive.
Alcorn’s opening drive started backed up deep in their own territory after a Special Teams’ breakdown. Quarterback Noah Johnson didn’t waste any time jump starting the offense as he threw a 55 yard pass to Wide Receiver Raidarious Anderson. After the big catch, Running Back P.J. Simmons showcased his nice running vision with a pair of 12-yard runs. Alcorn displayed a well balanced offense and eventually Johnson was able to sneak the ball into the end zone for Alcorn’s first score of the game. With 11:22 remaining in the first quarter the Braves led 7-0. As Texas Southern got the football for the first time of the game, the Braves’ defense continued their same good play as last week, and they quickly forced the Tigers to punt. Similar to the first Braves’ offensive drive, Johnson began a great attack to move the ball down the field. Johnson eventually threw a pass to Anderson for a Touchdown to increase the Braves’ lead to 14-0. On the Tigers’ next drive, despite marching the ball into Braves’ territory, Alcorn was able to force a punt after a big sack by Sophomore Chris Monroe. On the Braves’ third possession, they were forced to punt, and the Tigers again had the football. At the end of the first quarter Alcorn State led 14-0.
The second quarter began with a Tigers’ punt. The Braves then got the ball and started marching it into Tigers’ territory. After a pair of Alcorn penalties, and a sack, the Braves were forced to punt. Punter Corey McCullough released a well placed punt to pin Texas Southern inside their own 10 yard line. On the Tigers’ first play on their new drive, Defensive Back Jalen Thomas was able to sneak down to the line of scrimmage and record a sack for Alcorn. A few moments later, Texas Southern was again punting. The Braves took over the football, and their offense started to kick in gear again. Johnson and his favorite target Anderson continued to torch the Texas Southern defense. Ultimately Simmons was able to reach the end zone on a 1-yard run. With 5:37 remaining in the second quarter Alcorn led 21-0. As Texas Southern started their next drive, the Braves’ defense continued to shine. Again, Monroe recorded a huge sack right before Junior Javen Morrison caught his second interception of the year, and first of the game. After the turnover, Johnson wasted no time finding Anderson again for a 28-yard hookup. On the next play, Johnson threw a well-placed Touchdown pass to Chris Blair to increase Alcorn’s lead to 27-0 right before halftime.
The Tigers got the ball to begin the second half and they came out of the locker room with a seemingly good adjustment. Texas Southern’s offense easily marched past the 50-yard line and into Alcorn territory. The Tigers eventually punched the ball into the end zone to cut Alcorn’s lead to 27-7 with 11:33 remaining in the second half. The Braves’ first drive of the second half ended with a punt despite getting a pair of First Downs. Texas Southern on their second drive showcased a balanced offensive attack as they threw and ran the football into the red zone. While in the red zone, Morrison caught his second interception of the game to give Alcorn the ball again at the 27-yard line. Despite the turnover, the Braves were forced to punt on a quick 3 and out. After several more punts by both teams, the game entered the 4th quarter with a score of 27-7.
As the 4th quarter began Alcorn had possession of the football but again was forced to punt after a few unfortunate penalties. Due to the consecutive punts, the game started to drag on. The crowd was then somewhat re-energized after a sack by Junior Kwanzi Jackson which lead to a Texas Southern punt with 12:13 remaining in the game. The Braves’ defense would continue to dominate well into the 4th quarter. Big plays from Linebacker Solomon Muhammad and Defensive Back Quinten Smith, ultimately helped Alcorn maintain their big fourth quarter lead despite giving up a touchdown to Texas Southern late in the game.
The game concluded in a 27-15 victory for Alcorn State. The Braves were led on offense by Anderson who racked up 168 yards on 8 catches including a Touchdown. Johnson had a fine day throwing the football as he tallied 311 yards, and 3 total Touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, Alcorn was led by Morrison, Monroe, and Myshawn Smith who recorded 6 total tackles.
The Braves will be in action again on Saturday, September 22nd, as they travel to take on cross state rival Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils (0-2, 0-0) in Rice-Totten Stadium at 6:00 pm in Itta Bena, Mississippi.