The 2017 Alcorn State Braves’ football team kicked off the year with a dominating win against Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) opponent Miles College. The Braves’ defense set the tone early getting a quick three and out. Braves’ Senior Quarterback Lenorris Footman led a smooth 60 yard scoring drive in which he rushed for a 15 yard touchdown for the Braves’ first score of the new season.
On the Braves’ opening drive, Senior Wide receiver Norlando Veals and Junior Wide receiver Marquis Warford were in sync with Footman, both having big catches to move the Braves into the red zone. On Alcorn’s ensuing kickoff, Freshmen Daimen Anderson recovered a fumble giving the Braves great field position to strike again. After a pair of defensive stops from both teams, Footman rushed for his second touchdown of the first quarter, putting the Braves up 14-0. Alcorn however had a defensive breakdown, allowing an 85 yard touchdown run from Bears’ Running back Justin Hardy taking the game into the second quarter.
The second quarter began with a plethora of defensive stops from both sides. The Braves’ defense looked disciplined throughout the first half. The defense was led by Safety Leishaun Ealey who had 10 tackles and Solomon Muhammad who also added 10 tackles, 5 solos and a forced fumble. Kicker Corey McCullough tacked on 3 points for the Braves as he drilled a 45 yard field goal midway through the second quarter to improve the Braves’ lead to 17-7. After Alcorn’s defense forced a three and out, Senior De’Lance Turner showed off his speed as he caught a short pass from Footman and took it 20 yards for a touchdown. Footman lead the charge for the offense with 241 passing yards and 3 total touchdowns at the end of the first half. The Braves entered the half with a solid 24-7 lead.
The second half began very intriguingly as the Braves received the ball. Footman’s pass was intercepted and brought all the way back for a Miles College touchdown. Nevertheless, Alcorn’s very next play from scrimmage Turner broke an 88 yard touchdown run making the score 31-14. The third quarter muffled on with sloppy play from both sides but both defenses held firm until Alcorn was able to nail their second field goal of the game behind the foot of McCullough 3 minutes until the fourth quarter began. The Braves took the field following their field goal and forced a quick punt. On the ensuing punt, Warford showed off great elusiveness as he returned the ball 72 yards for another Braves’ touchdown to end the third quarter.
The fourth quarter began with a controlling 40-14 lead for the Braves. The game was all but over until P.J. Simmons entered the game with fresh legs and busted a 64 yard touchdown run extending the lead to 47-14, Braves. After a Bear’s score, McCullough added to the score with another field goal, making the final score 50-21.
The Braves kicked off the season with a commanding all around team performance. Footman completed 21 of 28 passes for 241 yards and 1 touchdown. In addition, he ran the ball 13 times for 103 yards. Turner carried the ball 8 times for a combined 133 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. Veals caught 6 passes for 81 yards and Warford caught 7 passes for 69 yards. The Braves combined for 593 yards of total offense and looked great as they pursue their fourth straight Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) Championship.