SAN ANTONIO, Texas – For 23 minutes Alabama State was not only playing toe-to-toe with FBS member Texas-San Antonio, they actually led 7-6 before losing to the Roadrunners 26-13.
“We played a hard-fought football game,” Head Coach Brian Jackson said. “I think our guys were in it from the beginning mental wise. We didn’t come out ready to play after halftime and they had a couple of big strikes. It was good to see us play hard and that’s a requirement if you want to win.”
The Hornets offense was stifled much of the game by the bigger Conference USA member and finished the game with 287 total yards. Senior running back Khalid Thomas did have a strong game with a game-high 93 yards rushing and his one yard plunge in the opening quarter gave the Hornets their 7-6 lead which they held until a few minutes before half.
ASU finished the game with 145 yards rushing on 37 attempts and had 142 yards passing on 13 of 23 completions.
“The running game went well, but evidently we didn’t make good enough adjustments in the second half because they stifled us a little bit,” Jenkins said.
ASU’s defense gave up 449 yards of total offense, but was able to force four turnovers, three fumbles and an interception.
“Defense buckled down,” Jenkins said. “They did some good things even when our backs were against the wall. That’s a plus, but we also gave up too many big plays and we had several missed assignments. We have to get the missed assignments corrected.”
Jujuan Young-Battle made his first start under center and finished the game completing 11 of his 18 passes for 102 yards. He was hurried several times and was sacked six times.
Late in the game senior Quinterris Toppings entered the game and led the Hornets on their second scoring drive. He completed two passes for 40 yards which included a 36 yard scoring strike to Palmer Graham.
Thomas led the Hornets offense in the first half with 91 yards rushing and a scored from one yard out which put ASU in the lead 7-6 at the 3:39 mark of the opening quarter.
The hosts were able to take advantage of several Hornet miscues which started on the opening kickoff as ASU fumbled the kick with UTSA recovering the fumble inside the 10 yard line. That led to a quick score one minute into the game.
The score stood 7-6 until 3:44 left in the half when UTSA’s Dalton Sturm broke free on a busted play from 51 yards out. With the two-point conversion the Road Runners led 14-7 which was the halftime lead.
The Hornets have a lot to work on between now and the next game and it’s a subject Jenkins touched on following the game. “We saw a lot we have to work on. We had a lot of penalties and we have to fix that part of it,” Jenkins said. “We have to go back as a coaching staff and look at what we are teaching to get it fixed.”
ASU is back on the road next week when they open conference action at two-time reigning SWAC Champ Alcorn State. The game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
Courtesy: ASU Athletics