Sunday, November 6, 2016
PVAMU Panthers Rally To Beat Alcorn State
PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas -- Home games for the Prairie View A&M University football team in 2016 are not for the faint-of-heart Panther fan.
Slow starts have led to exciting finishes. Weather delays, blood pressure medicines, defibrillators, energy beverages, virtual seat belts, and rollercoaster rides have all been a part of this year's fan experience at Panther football on The Hill.
However, with three games played at the new Panther Stadium, PVAMU football remains unbeaten, and, after Saturday's 31-27 come-from-behind win over two-time defending SWAC Champion Alcorn State, the Panthers (6-3 overall, 6-1 SWAC) remain in the hunt for the SWAC Championship Game or FCS playoff berth.
"I think we like giving our fans close games at home, but I'm proud of the guys," Panther head football coach Willie Simmons said. "I'm proud of the way they fought and responded, being down again early, never quitting. These guys have the heart of a champion. I'm happy to see them respond to adversity in good ways and see them continue to fight and plug through."
QB Jalen Morton accounted for four touchdowns (two passing, two running), and Sta'Fon McCray and Caleb Broach combined to rush for 141 yards as Prairie View A&M defeated the Braves (3-5 overall, 3-4 SWAC) for the second straight season.
"I've got to tip my hat to Alcorn State," Simmons said. "That's a first class organization. It's a reason why they are the two-time defending champs. I know a lot of those guys there, a lot of those coaches. They run a fine program. We knew it was going to be a 60-minute ball game. We're happy to be able to do enough in all three phases."
Prairie View A&M trailed 14-0 late in the first half before getting on the board twice in the final minute of the first half. McCray's 6-yard scoring pass from Morton with 32 seconds to play cut the Panthers' deficit in half. On the ensuing kickoff, Alcorn State failed to cover and Arthur Lockett recovered at the Alcorn 15. Armaury Martinez' 32-yard field goal on the last play of the half cut the PVAMU deficit to 14-10.
The Panthers scored on their third straight possession to open the third quarter. The five-play, 64-yard drive ended with Morton's 13-yard touchdown run to put Prairie View A&M in front for the first time, 17-14 with just over 13 minutes to play in the third quarter.
After the Braves regained the lead, the Panthers scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions. Morton eluded defenders and fired a 44-yard pass to Darius Floyd in the end zone, who made a diving catch to put the Panthers ahead to stay, 24-21, with just over four minutes to play in the third quarter.
On the ensuing PVAMU possession, Morton led the Panthers on one of their most impressive drives of the season. Driving 85 yards in 13 plays, taking more than 6 ½ minutes off the clock, Christian Rousseau's eight-yard run on a fake field goal on fourth-and-three from the Alcorn State nine-yard line gave the Panthers a first down.
Morton's one-yard score on the next play gave the Panthers a 31-21 lead with just over 10 minutes to play in the game.
After Alcorn scored with under seven minutes to play, PVAMU's Treveon Billings blocked the PAT to give the Panthers the final margin. The defense sealed the deal, holding the Braves without a first down on the final two possessions.
The Panthers return to action next week in the final home game of the season against SWAC Western Division co-leader Southern at 1 p.m. (www.pvpanthers.com/tickets), again looking to stay in the hunt for the postseason.
"We keep finding ways to get it done," Simmons said. "Hopefully, we can figure out why we keep starting so slowly. I don't know if it's what we're eating, where we staying. I don't know, but we have to figure something out. We have a really good Southern team coming in right now that's undefeated in conference play. It'll be hard to start slow against that bunch, and be able to beat them. We have to come faster next week. Again, if we can continue to finish the way we're doing, I like our chances."
PRAIRIE VIEW A&M UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS