LORMAN, Miss. – A back-and-forth seesaw battle that displayed over 900 yards of total offense saw the Alcorn State University football program score the go-ahead touchdown with 40 seconds left to outscore Prairie View A&M 45-41 on Saturday at Jack Spinks-Marino Casem Stadium.
In a game that featured six lead changes, the Braves (2-2, 1-0 SWAC) trailed 41-38 when they started at their own 35 with 5:20 left. Alcorn marched down the field, converted a 4th-and-4 at the PVAMU 36, and went on to tally the game-winner on a three-yard pass to sophomore Tim McNair.
Junior Felix Harper threw for 280 yards and a touchdown. His top target was senior LeCharles Pringle who submitted a career day with 144 yards and a touchdown.
Despite all the scoring, a heroic performance also came on the defensive end as senior Solomon Muhammad wrapped-up a career-high 18 tackles. Junior Juwan Taylor was also in double-figures with 11 tackles. Junior Qwynnterrio Cole tallied two interceptions.
PVAMU was led by Jalen Morton who threw for 321 yards and four touchdowns. DaWonya Tucker rushed for 128 yards and a pair of scores.
The team’s exchanged blows early in the game with Alcorn racing out to a 17-0 lead. PVAMU responded by scoring 19 unanswered points, but the Braves took advantage of a muffed punt to lead 24-19 at the half.
In the second half, PVAMU (1-3, 1-1 SWAC) jumped out to a 34-24 advantage when Alcorn answered with a pair of touchdowns by freshman Niko Duffey to go up 38-34. The Panthers punched back with a 75-yard drive to lead 41-38 at the 12:27 mark, but the Braves had the last laugh with a 14-play, 65-yard drive on their final possession to win it.
The Braves will remain at home next Saturday at 6 p.m. when they host Mississippi Valley State. Alcorn will be going for its seventh consecutive victory over MVSU.
The Braves scored on the first possession of the game. A 20-yard completion to Pringle got it going, and an 11-yard pass to senior Chris Blair moved it into PVAMU territory. Alcorn scored on a 30-yard reception to lead 7-0 early.
Morton’s first pass of the game was intercepted by Cole. It setup Alcorn at the PVAMU 31, and a pair of receptions of 13 and 10 yards, respectively to Duffey put the ball at the three. The Braves capped the drive with a three-yard touchdown by sophomore Trey Turner to go up 14-0 with not even four minutes taken off the clock.
Alcorn again got the ball off a turnover as Morton was picked off by sophomore Keyron Kinsler. It led to a 33-yard field goal by senior Corey McCullough which upped the lead to 17-0 at the 1:27 mark.
The game flipped for the first time when PVAMU scored on a 2nd-and-44 play as Morton went for the home run pass and connected with Tony Mullins for a 66-yarder. The Panthers were backed up due to penalties, but the big score cut the deficit to 17-7 at the 13:00 mark of the second quarter.
After a three-and-out by the Braves, the Panthers got the ball back and put together a seven-play, 68-yard drive that was capped by a 21-yard pass from Morton to Kelejawan Chriss. The point after was botched on the snap, but PVAMU trailed 17-13.
The Panthers kept the momentum going and blocked a punt to set them up at the Alcorn 1. On the very next play, Tucker ran it in to give the Panthers their first lead, 19-17, with 6:56 to go. The point-after attempt hit the left post, no good.
The end of the first half was looking bleak for the Braves after they were forced to punt again, but a big play came on special teams as the PVAMU returner coughed up the run-back and the Braves pounced on it at the PVAMU 5. On the very next play, Harper kept it himself on a five-yard dash to put Alcorn back in front 24-19 at the half.
The second half was seemingly off to a good start for the Braves after Cole picked off Morton for the second time. However, on Alcorn’s first play it turned it right back over on a poor handoff exchange and the Panthers recovered the fumble at the Alcorn 25. PVAMU cashed in with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Jones, and converted the two-point conversion to jump ahead 27-24 in the third.
The Panthers added on late in the third with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jones to make it a 34-24 game.
Alcorn’s comeback started midway through the third when it drove it 75 yards down the field. The big play was a 26-yard pass to Pringle. The Braves got into the end zone on a seven-yard rush by Duffey to trim the deficit to 34-31.
Alcorn took the lead early in the fourth on a six-yard run by Duffey. It came after a 30-yard completion to Blair, as the Braves went back ahead 38-34 with 14:40 remaining.
PVAMU’s final lead came early in the fourth when it responded with a 75-yard drive of its own. The scoring play was a 12-yard rush by Tucker, as the Panthers led 41-38 with just over 12 minutes left.
After a pair of punts, the Braves took over at its own 35 with 5:20 left. Alcorn faced a 3rd-and-14 at its own 42 when Felix found Pringle for 16 yards to keep the drive going. Then, the Braves were situated with a 4th-and-4 when they went for it, and Harper found Blair on the left side for 13-yards to keep it moving. An 11-yard rush by Duffey moved the ball into the red zone, and a nine-yard rush by Duffey placed it at the PVAMU 3. On 3rd-and-1, Harper rolled out to his right and hooked up with Tim McNair for the game-winner.
The Panthers had one last chance, as an unsportsmanlike penalty on Alcorn on the kickoff started PVAMU’s drive at the 40-yard line with 40 seconds. The Panthers advanced to the Alcorn 43, but three consecutive incomplete passes ended the game. The final play, with one second left, was a short pass over the middle that still had a long way to go after the catch, but it was dropped.
Courtesy: Alcorn Athletics