If you’re a fan of football in the rain, then Saturday night’s matchup on September 22nd between the Alcorn State Braves (3-1, 1-0) and the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (0-3, 0-1) was the game for you. Alcorn entered the game with a convincing win over Texas Southern University (1-3, 0-0) last week and the Delta Devils entered the contest on the heels of an embarrassing 70 point loss to Jacksonville State University (2-1, 0-0). This game represented the first Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) game of the 2018 season for both teams. As expected, Alcorn, who has won the Eastern Division in the SWAC for four consecutive seasons, began the game as a heavy favorite. However, Mississippi Valley State was in the comfort of their home, as the game began at 6:30 pm at Rice-Totten Stadium in Itta Bena, Mississippi.
The game began slow for the visiting Braves as Valley jumped out quickly to an early 7-0 lead with 9:27 remaining in the first quarter. After the Devil’s first score, the Braves would then gain complete momentum of the game. Starting with an interception by Alcorn’s starting Free Safety Brady Smith to set Alcorn up with great field position. After the turnover, Running Back P.J. Simmons began his huge day on the ground for Alcorn State as he broke lose for a 33 yard touchdown run to tie the contest at seven all. After a pair of punts from both sides, the Braves were able to take the lead following a 46 yard run by Simmons and a chip-shot field goal converted by Braves’ Kicker Corey McCullough. At the end of the first quarter Alcorn held a slim 10-7 lead over Valley.
At the start of the second quarter, Quarterback Noah Johnson of the Braves made his first big impact of the game. Johnson raced up the field for a 35 yard touchdown run to increase Alcorn’s lead to 17-7 with 14:48 remaining in the first half. After the Braves’ defense forced another stop, Johnson again was able to find the end zone with his second rushing touchdown of the day on a 10-yard scramble. The Braves then tallied another three points off of a 22 yard field goal from McCullough, but not before Junior Defensive Back Daylon Burks recorded his first interception of the season. As the game entered halftime, the Braves held a commanding 27-7 lead over the Delta Devils.
Both teams entered the second half a bit sluggish and a pair of punts resulted from the sloppy play. On Alcorn’s punt, Valley was able to run back a 90-yard touchdown to seize some momentum and cut the Braves lead to 27-14. Alcorn would answer however, as they executed a well organized offensive drive that ended with a short touchdown run by Running Back Marquise Forman. After yet another great defensive series from the Braves’ defense, Johnson threw a screen pass to Wide Receiver LeCharles Pringle for an Alcorn State touchdown. As the game entered the final quarter, the Braves held a commanding 41-14 lead over the Delta Devils.
The Braves began their chase for their 5th consecutive Eastern Division SWAC Championship with a blowout victory over Valley 56-20. A host of Braves had standout games, and many worthy of SWAC Player of the Week considerations. Alcorn held a massive edge in total yards in the contest racking up over 650 yards compared to only 200 for the Delta Devils. Johnson continued his outstanding play as he completed 18 of 23 passes for 203 yards and 4 total touchdowns. Simmons dashed through the Valley defense as he racked up 213 yards rushing and added a touchdown as well.
The Braves’ next contest will be taking on the Jaguars of Southern University (2-2, 1-0) on Saturday, September 29th at 6:00 pm at A.W. Mumford Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.