The Alcorn State Braves (1-0, 1-0) officially began their season with their home opener against their East Division rival the Alabama State Hornets (0-1, 0-2). The game marked several first as it saw Coach Fred McNair take the field as the Braves’ new Head Football Coach, the unveiling of the largest score board of any Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the nation and the official opening of the Field Level Lounge. With a packed house at Spinks-Casem Stadium and a nationally televised game on ESPN3 the Braves did not disappoint their fan base.
In the first quarter the Braves and Hornets looked evenly matched until the 3:06 mark when Alcorn running back Marquis Warford scored on a 13 yard run and with kicker Corey McCullough’s extra point the Braves took an early 7-0 lead.
The second quarter saw ‘Bama State get on the board at the 13:42 mark when quarterback Quinterris Toppings threw a 9 yard pass to running back Kenneth Thomas and with kicker David Albert’s extra point the game was now tied at 7. The two rivals battled valiantly until the very end of the second quarter when Alabama’s Albert kicked a 27 yard field goal with no time remaining on the clock to give the Hornet’s a 10-7 lead going into half time.
The third quarter saw a changing of the guard as Alcorn Redshirt Freshmen quarterback Noah Johnson replaced starter Lenorris Footman due to an ankle injury. Johnson played admirable as he led the Braves to a score at the 2:49 mark with a 17 yard scamper into the end zone and with a McCullough extra point the Braves now lead 14-10.
In the fourth quarter at the 12:54 mark the Braves scored yet again when running back De’Lance Turner bulled his way into the end zone with a 2 yard run and with the McCullough extra point the Braves now led 21-10. The Hornet’s sensing the urgency of the contest scored at the 5:59 mark when Toppings hit wide receiver Nygel Lee to make the score 21-16. Instead of going for the extra point the Hornets decided to go for the two point conversion which was successful when Toppings hit running back Darius King in the end zone to make the score 21-18. After getting the ball back Alabama attempted a 35 yard field goal to tie the game up but it was blocked by defensive back Eric Foster, therefore giving the Brave’s their first win of the season with a final score of 21-18.
The Braves’ next contest will be on Thursday, September 15, 2016 against The University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Spinks-Casem Stadium with a 6:30 kickoff time. The game will be televised on ESPNU. This is the Braves third game in eleven days.