Alcorn State (5-2, 3-1) traveled to Huntsville, Alabama to take on the Bulldogs of Alabama A&M (3-3, 2-2) on Saturday, October 13th at 2:00 pm at Louis Crews Stadium. After their Homecoming loss last week the Braves were looking to play spoiler this week at A&M’s Homecoming as both teams seemed ready for this pivotal Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) matchup.
Alcorn State won the kickoff, and differed until the second half. The very first offensive play of the game for A&M, the Braves’ defense came up huge. Sterling Shippy was able to sack and recover a fumble deep inside the Bulldogs’ territory. After an eight-yard run by Running Back De’Shawn Waller, and a pair of incompletions, Alcorn got on the scoreboard first. With 14:04 remaining in the first quarter the Braves lead 3-0 on a 34-yard field goal by Kicker Corey McCullough. After several punts from both teams, A&M was finally able to answer back with a 44-yard field goal of their own. At the four-minute mark in the first quarter the score was tied at 3. Neither offense was able to score a touchdown as the game entered the second quarter.
In the second quarter, both offenses continued to struggle with the defenses playing extremely well. At the 6:22 mark in the second quarter Junior Quarterback Noah Johnson broke an Alcorn State school record with a 92-yard touchdown run. The previous record was 88-yards in 2017 by former Running Back De’Lance Turner. With the long run, the Braves took a 10-3 lead over the Bulldogs. A&M would then answer back with a long, methodical drive. The Bulldogs marched over 65-yards and ate-up over four-minutes of the clock. A consistent dose of runs and passes lead to an eventual score for A&M to tie the contest at 10-10 where it remained until halftime.
The second half began featuring three straight punts until the Braves decided to take the lead. Alcorn orchestrated a six play, 69-yard scoring drive for a touchdown. The drive featured a plethora of runs by Waller who eventually rushed in a one-yard touchdown. With 7:15 remaining in the third quarter Alcorn State lead 17-10. The Braves then quickly forced a three-and-out, and Defensive End Theron Bonds blocked the ensuing Bulldogs’ punt. The play resulted in a safety and two additional points for Alcorn. At the 6:24 mark in the third quarter, Alcorn led 19-10. The Braves then got the ball back and wasted little time adding more points. Johnson threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Wide Receiver Dayall Harris to push Alcorn’s lead to 26-10 with 3:06 still to play in the third quarter. The Bulldogs executed a touchdown drive of their own, wasting less than two-minutes off the game clock with a 19-yard catch. Alcorn then marched the ball into enemy territory behind the legs of Johnson and a 70-yard scramble. The big play eventually lead to Waller’s second one-yard touchdown run of the game. As the fourth quarter began the Braves held a 32-18 lead.
Alcorn scored fist in a very slowly played fourth quarter. McCullough was able to add three points to the Braves’ lead on a 39 yard field goal. With over seven minutes remaining in the game, the Braves were ahead 35-18. After a pair of punts from both teams, the Bulldogs tried too little, too late to mount a comeback. Despite a 37-yard touchdown pass in the closing mintutes of the game, the Braves defeated A&M by the final score of 35-26.
The Braves were lead by Johnson who had a big game rushing and passing. He completed 16 of 27 passes for 160 yards and added one throwing touchdown. Rushing the ball, Johnson racked up 168 yards, and also recorded a touchdown on the ground. McCullough had a good day kicking as he converted all of his point-after-attempts and made two additional field goals. Qwynnterio Cole continued his strong play as he led the Braves in tackles with nine total.
Alcorn State will take on the Grambling State University Tigers (2-3, 1-1) at Spinks-Casem Stadium Saturday, October 20th in Lorman, Mississippi at 2:00 pm as their next SWAC opponent.