ITTA BENA, Miss. –
A 665-200 edge in total yards and 462-22 advantage in rushing resulted in a 56-20 victory for the Alcorn State University football program over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday at Rice-Totten Stadium.
Six of Alcorn's (3-1, 1-0 SWAC) seven touchdowns came on the ground as the team won its third straight game. Senior P.J. Simmons
tallied a career-high 210 yards and a touchdown, and freshman Marquise Forman
registered a career-high 119 yards and two touchdowns.
Junior quarterback Noah Johnson
rushed for 139 yards and three touchdowns, and also threw for 203 yards and a score. His top target was junior Chris Blair
who hauled in seven catches for 92 yards.
MVSU (0-3, 0-1 SWAC), which was coming off a bye week, was led by Steven McIntosh who posted 80 receiving yards. Quarterback Chris Fowler was limited to 79 yards on 8-for-24 passing and an interception. Defensively, Patrick Harbin had a game-high 11 tackles.
The Braves sacked Fowler five times and backup Dejerric Bryant once. Senior Sterling Shippy
wrapped-up 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for a loss. Alcorn also grabbed two interceptions by senior Brady Smith
and junior Daylon Burks
After the team's exchanged punts on their opening drives, the Delta Devils scored on their second series to go up 7-0 at the 9:27 mark. The scoring play was a 4-yard quarterback keeper by Fowler. MVSU was assisted by a 15-yard personal foul call on the Braves after an 18-yard rush by Fowler.
Alcorn got it going after an interception by Smith sparked the team. Smith cut in front of the MVSU wide receiver on a slant route. The turnover resulted in points after Simmons broke loose for a 33-yard touchdown run to the right to tie it 7-7 with 7:33 left in the first. The drive was kept alive after a 14-yard reception by junior Raidarious Anderson
, the reigning SWAC Offensive Player of the Week winner, on a 3rd-and-11.
The Braves got the ball back after a three-and-out by the defense, including a sack on third down by junior Kwanzi Jackson
. The offense marched down the field again after a 13-yard run by Johnson, followed by a big 46-yard carry by Simmons through the middle. Though, the Braves had to settle for a 20-yard field goal which was good by junior Corey McCullough
to put Alcorn up 10-7 with 2:31 remaining in the first.
On the very first play of the second quarter, the Braves had the ball when Johnson sprinted right through the center like a race car with no brakes and outran the entire MVSU defense untouched for a 64-yard touchdown. It gave Alcorn a 17-7 edge.
The Braves were on the move again midway through the second quarter. Johnson completed a 13-yard pass to Blair and a 15-yarder to freshman Juan Anthony. The scoring play was a 10-yard scramble to the left by Johnson as he stretched the ball across the goal line to make it a 24-7 game.
Alcorn got the ball back late in the half with good field position after an interception by Burks. It resulted in a 22-yard field goal by McCullough to increase the advantage to 27-7.
MVSU opened the scoring in the second half with a 90-yard punt return by Booker Chambers for a touchdown which cut the deficit to 27-14 with 10:36 to go. There was originally a flag on the field for a suspected illegal block, but it was picked up.
The Braves responded with a seven-play, 76-yard drive to go back up 34-14 at the 7:58 mark in the third. The scoring play was a run-option as Johnson pitched to Forman for a 15-yard touchdown to the left. The drive included a 20-yard rush by Simmons and a 14-yard reception by senior Charles Hughes
Alcorn marched down the field again on its next drive, capped by a 6-yard screen pass for a touchdown to Pringle as he carried a defender into the endzone. It ended a seven-play, 70-yard drive which included 13-yard runs by Johnson and Forman. The Braves led 41-14 with 3:03 left in the third.
The Braves extended their edge to 47-14 with 9:43 remaining in the fourth. The scoring play was a 6-yard stretch run to the left by Forman, but the extra point was missed. The series included a 24-yard reception by junior Kyontez Everett
on third down, and a 13-yard reception by Blair.
Alcorn added-on with a 50-yard touchdown rush through the middle by Forman. It upped the lead to 54-14 with 6:30 left.
MVSU scored on its final possession of the game. It came on a 3-yard lob pass to Quinn McElfresh. The extra point was blocked by junior Theron Bonds
and returned all the way back for two-points by sophomore Qwynnterrio Cole
Junior Javen Morrison
, the reigning HBCU National Player of the Week and SWAC Defensive Player of the Week honoree, finished with five tackles and two pass break-ups.
The Braves will play their second straight conference road game next Saturday at 6 p.m. when they head to Southern. Alcorn is 36-27-2 all-time against SU and beat the Jaguars 48-31 last season at home.
- The Braves won their sixth straight game over the Delta Devils and lead the all-time series 45-15-1. Alcorn has outscored MVSU 318-78 over the last six games.
- Alcorn won its conference opener for the seventh year in a row.
- The Braves entered the game as one of 21 teams in the nation to score on 100 percent of their trips in the red zone. Alcorn stayed perfect by going six-for-six tonight.
- Johnson entered the game ranked 13th in the country in completion percentage (.684). He will improve his rank after going 18-for-23 (.783) in the air.
- Simmons, the SWAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, broke his previous career-high of 172 yards set last season against Alabama A&M at home. He averaged 8.8 yards per carry tonight.
- Forman's 119 rushing yards broke his previous career-high of 58 yards against Louisiana College this season. He registered his first multi-touchdown game of his career.
- Alcorn improved to 9-0 when leading at halftime over the last two seasons
- The Braves entered the week ranked No. 4 in the HBCU Poll.
- Alcorn assistant coach Pat White
was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame today. He was not present for his induction as WVU hosted Kansas State since he was on the sideline with the Braves. White's brother Coley was present on his behalf.
- Alcorn's captains were Johnson, Smith and Shippy. The Braves won the coin toss and deferred to the second half.
Quoting Alcorn head coach Fred McNair
"We've got a lot of things we have to work on. We still have way too many penalties, especially personal fouls. Most of these penalties are really unnecessary where guys didn't need to do it, but it's something we obviously need to clean up. We play a good team next week against Southern and if we keep committing penalties like this it's going to cost us. Our team executed well tonight at times, but we need to play a good four quarters which we haven't done yet."
On the rushing yards
"Our guys did a really good job of blocking. We just have to execute and play to our potential. We saw flashes of it tonight and we see what we're capable of, but overall I believe we can do better. I thought coach [Ryan] Stanchek did a great job of calling plays and we really tried to attack them."
On the defensive performance
"Our defense has been stingy the whole year. I didn't like giving up that last touchdown at the very end there when we were on the ball at should have made a play. We also gave up a big special teams touchdown, but the defense has been playing well. We just have to be more consistent offensively and take advantage of our opportunities."
Quoting senior running back P.J. Simmons
On his career night
"The O-Line just opened up holes all night and I tried my best to hit them full speed. I just wanted to do whatever I could to help the team secure a victory."
On when he realized tonight could be a career night for him
"I really wasn't thinking about that at all. I just went out there with the mindset that I just have to do my job and do whatever it takes to help the team win."
On how big it is for the team to run for 462 yards
"It's really big because we've known we were capable of it. With the O-Line that we have, we're capable of doing it every week."