PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas –
For the third time this year, the Alcorn State University football program went on the road for Homecoming and walked away with a victory as the Braves ousted Prairie View A&M 27-13 Saturday at Panther Stadium.
The Braves (7-2, 5-1 SWAC) defense did not allow a touchdown. The lone PVAMU (3-5, 2-2 SWAC) touchdown came on a kickoff return. Alcorn sacked Jalen Morton five times, and junior Brelion Hollis
wrapped-up a career-high 12 tackles.
The Braves also got their hands on two interceptions from senior Leishaun Ealey
and sophomore Qwynnterrio Cole
Alcorn held a 512-235 advantage in total yards, including a 249-61 disparity in rushing. Junior De'Shawn Waller
led the ground game with 120 yards and a touchdown. Junior Noah Johnson
rushed for 81 yards to go along with his 263 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Johnson's touchdown passes were caught by senior Dayall Harris
and junior Chris Blair
. Harris finished with 81 receiving yards, while Blair hauled in 63.
Morton ended with 174 passing yards for PVAMU on 16-for-33 passing and two interceptions. Dawonya Tucker, who entered the game as the league's leading rusher, was limited to 60 yards on 15 attempts.
The Braves fumbled the opening kickoff of the game and the Panthers recovered at the 11-yard line. A good defensive stand by Alcorn, including run-stopping tackles by Cole and junior Solomon Muhammad
, resulted in a 22-yard field goal attempt that was no-good.
After the Braves went three-and-out offensively, the PVAMU marched down the field on its second drive and got on the board with a 22-yard field goal by Zach Elder to take a 3-0 lead at the 8:04 mark. The big plays on the series were catches of 29-yards and 20-yards, respectively, by Tristen Wallace. The Panthers had 1st-and-goal at the Alcorn 5 when the Braves made a red zone stop.
Alcorn got-going offensively on its second drive. A 29-yard screen pass to Blair to the left moved the ball into Panthers territory. Johnson then found Blair again as he hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass between to defenders and hung on as he was tackled into the end zone. It gave the Braves a 7-3 lead with 5:35 remaining.
On the ensuing kickoff, Bernard Goodwater ran back an 81-yard touchdown to put the Panthers back on top 10-7 with 5:22 to go. It was a short kick, and Goodwater found a large hole to the left as he was off to the races.
The Braves offense was on the move again late in the first. After a 10-yard first down run by senior P.J. Simmons
, Johnson took off for a 44-yard rush as he faked the hand-off and kept it himself to the left and was tackled at the PVAMU 19. However, Alcorn was backed up by a holding penalty and settled for a 39-yard field goal which was good by junior Corey McCullough
to even it 10-10 with 1:16 left.
PVAMU started at its own 4 early in the second quarter when it put together a long drive and got all the way to the Alcorn 17. Though, on a first down play, Morton was intercepted in the right corner of the end zone by Cole as he leaped up and kept a foot in bounds for the turnover.
After the interception, Johnson threw a slant to Harris over the middle that went for 22 yards. Third down runs of 11 yards by Johnson and 19 yards by Waller moved the ball to the PVAMU 24. The Braves took the lead 13-10 after a 20-yard field goal McCullough at the 3:50 mark.
Alcorn added on before the end of the half. On 2nd-and-20, Johnson was nearly sacked in the backfield but stayed up and found Harris wide-open for a 44-yard touchdown catch. It extended the lead to 20-10 heading into the intermission.
Midway through the third quarter, the Braves got good field position near midfield after an interception by Ealey. A quick pitch to junior Nigel Wood
went for 16 yards, and a 16-yard reception by senior Raidarious Anderson
made it first down at the PVAMU 16. Alcorn settled for a 29-yard field goal attempt, but it was missed wide-left with 6:06 remaining.
In the fourth quarter, the Panthers chipped into the deficit 20-13 with 5:46 left after a long, 14-play drive. PVAMU had 1st-and-goal at the Alcorn 8 when the Braves made a red zone stop. The Panthers scored on a 31-yard field goal by Elder. The drive took 7:04 off the clock.
The Braves were faced with a 3rd-and-8 on the following series when they kept the drive and clock moving with an 11-yard screen pass to Waller. Alcorn stayed on the ground and ran it for another first down with Waller with 3:30 to go at the PVAMU 47. Johnson followed with a QB-keeper for a first down to the PVAMU 27 with 2:45 left.
The clock ended up not making a difference though as Waller took a hand-off and ran it for 26 yards and a touchdown to give Alcorn a 27-13 edge and put the game away with 1:34 remaining.
The Braves will take a break from conference play next weekend when they travel to New Mexico State for a 3 p.m. (CT) start.
- Alcorn won its fourth consecutive road game. It previously spoiled Homecoming games at Southern and Alabama A&M.
- The Braves are now 42-15 all-time against the Panthers.
- The Alcorn defense entered the game leading the nation in both sacks per game (4.5) and tackles for a loss per game (9.5). The team will improve upon its tallies with 5.0 sacks and 11.0 tackles for a loss.
- The Braves offense entered the contest leading the SWAC in total offense (451.9 ypg) and notched 512 yards.
- Hollis broke his previous career-high of eight tackles set at Jackson State last year. He also had a sack and two tackles for a loss in the match.
- Junior Terry Whittington
is the reigning FCS National Defensive Player of the Week in addition to HBCU Player of the Week and SWAC Defensive Player of the Week. He finished with three tackles.
- Cole's interception was his third of the year which ties him for a team-high this season with junior Javen Morrison
- The Braves improved to 12-0 when leading at halftime over the last two seasons.
- The Panthers featured both the league's top rusher and passer. Morton, who normally throws for 239.7 yards per game, was limited to 174 passing yards. Tucker averages 116.0 rushing yards per outing and was held to 60.
- The Braves sit at No. 3 in this week's HBCU Poll and are receiving a vote in the national FCS Poll. PVAMU was No. 6 in the HBCU Poll.
- Alcorn's captains were Simmons and seniors Sterling Shippy
and Matthew Stewart
. PVAMU won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.
- With Alabama State's loss to Alabama A&M, the Braves can clinch the SWAC East Division with a win over Jackson State in the season finale. Alcorn can also clinch prior to the game with losses by JSU and ASU in the upcoming weeks.
Quoting Alcorn head coach Fred McNair
"We came out and played hard today. The team played with a lot of speed and really fought. We played with a sense of urgency. Though at the same time, we still have a lot to work on. I still don't think we're there yet. We have to be better in a lot of areas and I just feel that we haven't played to our full potential. We have some good spurts in every game but we need more consistency overall. We'll get back at it Monday morning."
On not giving up a defensive touchdown
"It's no secret that our defense has been solid all year. We did a great job of stopping the run today which put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. We just have to continue to get better as a team. I'm proud of the way we're competing."
On trying to limit the penalty yards
"It's a point of emphasis every week and the coaches talk about it before every game in the pre-game speech. We need to eliminate the penalties and the big plays, and we'll keep pressing it until it's done."
On posting over 500 yards of total offense
"We wanted to mix-up what we were doing offensively today. We knew coming into the game that PVAMU had a big defensive line and is tough to run against. We needed to come up with some schemes to counter what PVAMU was doing, and Coach [Ryan] Stanchek did a great job of coming up with a game plan."
Quoting running back De'Shawn Waller
On his performance
"This was a great team win today. I have to give credit to both the offensive line and the wide receivers for the way they blocked. We even had a touchdown called back, but it was the blocking that opened up all the holes today."
On his touchdown that put the game away 27-13
"That play was just about execution. We work on perfecting the little things every day in practice and it paid off on that play. It was a read to the right and our right tackle, right guard and wide receivers did a great job of getting down field and making blocks. The rest of our guys did what they had to do and it opened it up for me."
On his emerging role on the team
"I had to learn a lot coming in this year including new plays. I wasn't here last year so I had to come in over the summer and get right to it."
Quoting linebacker Brelion Hollis
On his career-high in tackles
"I couldn't have done it without my teammates and the rest of the defense putting me in a position to be successful. I'm just glad to be a part of something special. I have to give credit to the coaches for pushing us every day in practice, and I couldn't have done it without them and the rest of the team."
On not allowing a defensive touchdown in the game
"It was about the coaches giving us the right calls, and us being in the right positions at the right time. We were able to handle our business and do what we needed to do. All week the coaches stressed about the little things and paying attention to detail. We were able to stay focused and execute today and get a win."